Thai government: ‘Cannabis is top priority’

Thailand’s new government is prioritising the development of a medical cannabis industry, according to a newly-released document.

The coalition government, elected in March and headed by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, released the policy document on Sunday.

It states: “The study and technological development of marijuana, hemp, and other medicinal herbs should be sped up for the medical industry to create economic opportunity and income for the people.”

Thailand legalised medical cannabis use and research last year.

Last week health minister Anutin Charnvirakul vowed to make cannabis-based medicine widely available by including it on the national essential drugs list, but they must be subjected to tight regulations the same as other prescription drugs.

He told the Bangkok Post: “First, it must be clearly established to whom we can offer the medicine. It’s not a cure-all after all.”

“The most important part of the plant is its chemical make-up, its principal psychoactive constituents – namely, tetrahydrocannabinols (THC), and cannabidiols (CBD) – that we can draw from the plants.”

Mr Anutin also said public health volunteers will undertake a pilot project to grow up to six cannabis plants in the home.

The aim is to show that cannabis can be consumed at home as a herb to aid appetite. The plants will be strictly limited to domestic use and cannot be sold or leave the property.

Most Asian nations have strict drug laws, but there are signs attitudes towards medical cannabis are softening – opening up investment opportunities in the region.