BANGKOK – Thailand’s newly appointed health minister has reiterates his election campaign promise to push ahead legislation on legalizing of medical marijuana.
Anutin Charnvirakul, leader of the Bhumjaithai party which is the first major party to advocate marijuana for medical use, held a seminar on medical marijuana on Friday, three days after he was formally appointed public health minister.
He told the seminar of public health officials, medical marijuana (cannabis) advocacy groups, traditional medicine practitioners and supporters that he would push ahead to enforce the policy.
Anutin, who is also Deputy Prime Minister, said this policy was aimed to benefit Thai people, allow access to traditional medicine and create new business opportunities for Thai people.
He said this medical marijuana initiative had been included in the government policy statement which would be delivered to Parliament soon.
Participants at the seminar hailed the party’s policy while calling on Anutin to use his executive power to create a legal shortcut allowing freer medical marijuana practices among alternative medicine institutes.
Meanwhile, the Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) handed over 600 kg of marijuana, seized from drug traffickers to Abhaibhubejhr Hospital to produce cannabinoid drugs.
ONCB secretary-general Niyom Termsrisuk presided over the handover of cannabis to Chantima Suwan, a traditional medicine practitioner from the hospital.
Chantima said the first lot of 30 kg marijuana, given to the hospital earlier was found to be safe from hazardous substances and it contained high concentration of CBD and THC, active compounds for medicine production.
The new lot of marijuana will be tested for contamination and the result will be known within 15 days.
Then, it will take about one and a half month to produce marijuana-based medicine for the last-stage cancer patients.
The 600 kg marijuana could be made into up to a hundred thousand bottles of cannabis oil.