Council to take 300 patients for pot amnesty

Council to take 300 patients for pot amnesty

Farmers set to be registered with FDA

Visitors to a marijuana exhibition gather to see marijuana-based products in Buri Ram province last month. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)
Visitors to a marijuana exhibition gather to see marijuana-based products in Buri Ram province last month. (Photo by Apichit Jinakul)

The National Farmers Council will take 300 patients from Bangkok and its surrounding provinces to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) so they will not be criminalised for using marijuana extracts to treat their health conditions.

The council plans to meet the FDA to register the patients on Sunday, said FDA secretary-general, Thares Karasnairaviwong.

The patients are expected to be one the last groups to register for an amnesty before the FDA ends the patient registration process.

In anticipation of the influx of last-minute registrations, the FDA has assigned extra staff to man the registration desks to ensure the process runs smoothly and finishes in time, said Dr Thares.

The government had initially announced May 19 as the last day for registration -- but since May 19 falls on a Sunday, and May 20 has been designated as a substitution holiday for Visakha Bucha Day on May 18, the agency decided to extend the deadline to May 21.

Patients residing outside of Bangkok may register medical marijuana in their possession at provincial health offices across the country, said Dr Thares, before adding that more than 8,500 people nationwide have registered to date.

Dr Thares said those who wish to register for the first time are required to obtain a medical certificate from their physician that clearly outlines the reason why he or she needs to be treated with marijuana-based extracts.

Citing the Department of Medical Services, he said there is proof that marijuana extracts can help improve the condition of patients suffering from diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and other diseases that cause the loss or destruction of myelin in nerve tissue.

Research bodies are working on proving the safety and effectiveness of medical marijuana, as well as training doctors how to prescribe it.

Public queries regarding medical marijuana registrations can be directed to the FDA via the hotline 1556, or through the Office of the Narcotics Control Board's hotline at 1386, he said.

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