Thailand’s Cannabis Future Network is seeking 10,000 names to petition parliament to continue its reading of the Cannabis-Hemp Act, which would allow individuals to grow weed at home and ban the import of cannabis products for five years.
Prasitchai Nunual, the network leader, said yesterday the act was initially composed of 95 sections, but parliament’s reading only reached Section 17 due to a change of government.
Section 17 states that individuals are allowed to grow cannabis plants at home. Moreover, the Cannabis-Hemp Act also bans the import of cannabis for five years, opening up opportunities for domestic production and consumption.
The Cannabis Future Network has brainstormed and worked jointly with people across Thailand to study the benefits of cannabis, citing the historical use of the plant in traditional medicine.
Mr Prasitchai said the network on Monday held a talk in Chiang Mai to discuss the practicality of the Cannabis-Hemp Act. He explained that cannabis is not listed as a narcotic and can be planted at home for medical reasons. During the talk, attendants discussed the eligibility of a cannabis committee, regulations for home-grown cannabis and manufactured-scale cannabis, the licence to grow cannabis, the right to renew and the conditions for it being revoked.
The panel also focused on the sale of cannabis, advertisement regulations, the protection of children, penalties, public nuisance from weed-smoking and schemes for cannabis research and development in Thailand.
“We would like to voice our opinions to draft a well-rounded bill. We hope that the new government will listen to us and prioritise the benefit of the people,” said Mr Prasitchai.
The network will travel across Thailand to collect people’s opinions about the Cannabis-Hemp Act as well as to seek 10,000 names on the petition to revise the cannabis-related law, including a public talk in Nakhon Si Thammarat today.
Thailand’s Cannabis and Hemp Act
On June 9, 2022, Thailand removed cannabis and hemp plants and their unprocessed parts from the Narcotics Code, making it the first Asian country to legalise the cultivation, sale, and use of the plant for medical and other approved purposes.
By removing cannabis and hemp from the controlled substances list, the private sector will be able to legally cultivate, possess, sell, and use these substances. Hemp and cannabis extracts with a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration of 0.2% or above are nevertheless subject to regulation under the Narcotics Act. With narrow exclusions, it is still illegal to produce or possess any substance containing more than 0.2% THC by weight.
As the latest draught of the Cannabis and Hemp Act moves closer to promulgation, the industry should expect more limitations and an improved licencing framework.
With very few exceptions, it is currently illegal to import these goods. Anyone wishing to import for clinical trials must follow the licencing processes of the Thai FDA under the Herbal Products Act, with the exception of Thai government agencies importing such items for the treatment of patients, public academic institutions importing for research purposes, and anyone else.
It is not necessary to have a permit to grow cannabis or hemp in Thailand if you are a Thai citizen. In Thailand, no licence is necessary to trade hemp, cannabis, or any of their unprocessed parts or crude resins (with the exception of cannabis flowers and resins derived therefrom).
The Protection and Promotion of Thai Traditional Medicines Knowledge Act (1999) allows for the legal trade of cannabis flowers and derivatives with a valid trading licence.
As of right now, the Foreign Business Act (1999) only allows Thai majority-owned enterprises to engage in agricultural operations like cannabis or hemp cultivation.
In addition, the Plant Variety Protection Act (1999) acknowledged the Cannabis L. genus in October 2021 as a novel plant variety deserving of protection.
Since its delisting in 2022, the Thai Food and Drug Administration has registered over a thousand cannabis-related items, including herbal remedies, edibles, and cosmetics.
There is a period of transition in effect regarding cannabis laws and regulations in Thailand as of the date of this material. It is already the end of the Parliamentary term (February 2023) and the draught Cannabis and Hemp Act (an expected omnibus law covering remaining unsolved matters on the topic) has not yet made it into published law. It will be interesting to watch how the next party or coalition administration views cannabis and hemp after the upcoming General Election in May 2023.