Govt pushes cannabis as next cash crop

Govt pushes cannabis as next cash crop

A worker examines cannabis plants being grown in Prachin Buri province, to be used in dishes at the Abhaibhubejhr Spa Cuisine restaurant in Prachin Buri, Jan 15, 2021. (Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital / AFP photo)
A worker examines cannabis plants being grown in Prachin Buri province, to be used in dishes at the Abhaibhubejhr Spa Cuisine restaurant in Prachin Buri, Jan 15, 2021. (Chao Phraya Abhaibhubejhr Hospital / AFP photo)

The government is promoting cannabis as a cash crop for the country’s farmers as another source of income, a senior official said on Sunday.

“Everybody has the right to grow marijuana by partnering up with provincial hospitals for medical use,” deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul said, adding that those interested would have to also seek approval from authorities.

“So far, 2,500 households and 251 provincial hospitals have grown 15,000 cannabis plants,” she said. “We hope that cannabis and hemp will be a primary cash crop for farmers.”

Others that can seek licences to grow cannabis include universities, community enterprises, medical professionals and traditional medicine professionals.

The announcement comes after Thailand last year removed certain cannabis and hemp parts from its narcotics list.

Cannabis can also be used in food and beverages at restaurants, as long as it came from an approved producer, Ms Traisulee said, adding that the Medical Marijuana Institute will hold information sessions for investors and the public this month.

The state drugmaker, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation, said it would buy cannabis from approved community enterprises for up to 45,000 baht per kilogramme for plants containing 12% cannabidiol (CBD). 

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