Community enterprises in northeastern Thailand have asked the government for compensation after investing in cannabis farming but could not obtain a growing license due to ambiguities in the cannabis law.
Cannabis decriminalization was one of the Bhumjaithai Party’s flagship policies in the 2019 election. Later, the coalition party announced plans to pilot a cannabis city project in Nakhon Phanom and to remove cannabis from the narcotics list.
Many local community enterprises collaborated with tambon health promotion hospitals on the project, funded by the Bhumjaithai-led Public Health Ministry’s policy of allowing more than 100 groups to grow cannabis plants at home for medicinal purposes.
However, only a few groups have received permits from the authorities, leaving nearly 100 groups stranded. They also cannot cultivate the plants for commercial purposes because they are illegal.
Ponpawee Chitmat, a 44-year-old member of a community enterprise growing herbs for medicinal purposes, said ten farmers have set up such enterprises to grow cannabis since May last year, with the help of tambon health promotion hospitals.
“We invested about 250,000 baht in a cultivation site and applied for a license more than a year ago, but so far in vain,” she explained.
In June 2022, Thailand’s Ministry of Health classified hemp and cannabis as controlled plants, legalized cannabis to promote its use for therapeutic and health reasons, and restricted its possession and use to those at least 20 years old (unless they have permission from a doctor).
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content in cannabis extracts no higher than 0.2 percent by weight has been delisted by the (FDA) from its list of prohibited substances.
In Thailand, cannabis extracts with a THC content of more than 0.2 percent remain illegal.
It’s important to remember that it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public. This could result in a three-month prison sentence and a 25,000 Baht fine.
The new cannabis policies only allow for medical or health-related uses; recreational use is not permitted.
Importing goods into Thailand that contain cannabis and hemp extracts, hemp-derived goods, or any cannabis or hemp parts is prohibited.
Plant farming is permitted by companies with a permit and households with registration on the appropriate application.