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Thailand’s Government Amends Law for the Production, Distribution and Possession of Marijuana



BANGKOK – Thailand’s cabinet yesterday fleshed out regulatory details for the production, distribution and possession of marijuana, months after the longstanding narcotics law was amended to allow the production and possession of cannabis for medical purposes.

The amended law was broadly stated, leading the Public Health Ministry to add detailed conditions and forward them for Cabinet approval

Under the new ministerial regulation adopted yesterday, seven conditions are laid out to permit the possession of cannabis, as well as its production and delivery.

First, it must be used for medical purposes. Second, it must be for medical, scientific or drug-related research. Third, it must not undermine narcotics crime-suppression work and related international cooperation. Fourth, marijuana products can be exported. Fifth and sixth, the activities for drug production must be for “special cases” and patients must be under the care of registered and traditional medical practitioners. And last, local and foreign |travellers within Thailand can have access to medical marijuana.

Previously, the ministry had issued two regulations related to the qualification for traditional medical practitioners, as well as for approval of traditional drug formulas containing marijuana. The latter was intended to clear up murky areas concerning traditional practices using marijuana for medical purposes, one of the most controversial points in the amendment.

Maj-General Atisit Chainuwat, a member of the PM’s Office spokesperson team, said the Interior Ministry had suggested that a campaign be implemented to raise public awareness and knowledge about the pros and cons of marijuana, as well as to better understand the new regulations. The Commerce Ministry, meanwhile, suggested that monitoring and regulatory mechanisms be used to prevent misuse of the plant.

The Mental Health Department is also planning to join other agencies to study the impact marijuana use can have on health as well as marijuana-based drugs to treat mental illnesses.

Dr Kiattiphum Wongrajit, the department chief, said it’s widely accepted that chemicals extracted from marijuana can be medically beneficial, but each chemical has a different intensity and has varying effects on people’s health and mental state. THC, for instance, can have a potentially negative affect on mental health, while CBD can work in an opposite fashion. Hence, drug formulas for different illnesses need different amounts of these chemicals, which is why patients should be under the care of doctors.

The department has learned that the number of people addicted to marijuana had risen from 2,127 in 2017 to 2,612 last year. In the first four months of this year, 1,468 marijuana addicts were undergoing treatment for psychosis, paranoia, laughing fits and other conditions.

By The Nation

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