BANGKOK – Despite the fact that Marijuana is now legal for medical use in Thailand, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has warned people seeking relief against growing it themselves.
“If you need marijuana for your illness, visit a doctor for a proper diagnosis or a prescription,” ONCB secretary-general Niyom Termsrisuk said recently.
He stressed that possession and use of marijuana without permission remains a crime punishable by a jail term or fine or both.
The authorities are now in the process of preparing medical marijuana for distribution through licensed sources, he said.
Prospective growers, importers and exporters of medical marijuana can submit requests for licenses to the Food and Drug Administration, whose Narcotics Committee must first grant approval.
Eligible for consideration are state organisations that conduct research in or teach medicine, pharmacology, science or agriculture, and those that provide agricultural services for medical or pharmaceutical purposes.
Also eligible are pharmacists, dentists, veterinarians and practitioners of traditional Thai medicine and certified folk healers, as well as private higher-education institutes that do research on or teach medicine or pharmacology.
Legally registered community and social enterprises and agricultural cooperatives that work with or under the supervision of approved state organisations or private schools are eligible.
Also eligible are providers of international transport services, Thais living in Thailand who travel overseas with medical marijuana and other people duly authorised under ministerial regulations.
“Legal entities seeking permission must be Thai-owned and have an office in Thailand,” Niyom said, “and two-thirds of their board members must be Thai.”
Meanwhile, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has clarified that the new narcotics law does not legalize the unrestricted planting of marijuana in an apparent response to Bhumjai Thai party’s manifesto pledge to legalize marijuana cultivation.
FDA secretary-general Dr. Tharet Kratnairaveewong said on Friday that the new law, now in force, only allows for limited cultivation of marijuana with the cooperation a state agency withprior permission from the Narcotics Control Committee.
The FDA is expected to issue three ministerial announcement next week exempting doctors, researchers, community enterprises, patients and others who have registered with the FDA or with health offices, from legal action for possession and cultivation of the plant.