Health Ministry set to delist hemp

Health Ministry set to delist hemp

Category 5 narcotic status to be axed

Hemp is grown at the Pang Da agricultureal station in Samoeng district of Chiang Mai. (File photo)
Hemp is grown at the Pang Da agricultureal station in Samoeng district of Chiang Mai. (File photo)

The Public Health Ministry announced amendments on Thursday to two ministry statements to delist hemp as a controlled substance from category 5 under the Narcotics Act. The changes are scheduled to be completed by next month.

Speaking at a press conference, Tares Krassanairawiwong, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said one of these changes concerned an announcement about the names of controlled drug substance under category 5 while the other one related to different hemp types and their use.

"The amendments to these two laws will be completed in August,'' said Dr Tares, adding the ministry will immediately have to push for its new ministerial regulation on the use of hemp which needs to be approved by the cabinet and the Office of the Council of State.

Dr Tares said he does not know when the whole process of pushing for the ministerial regulation will be finished but it is likely to be time-consuming.

He added that he has thrown his support behind this ministry's move as he believes the country will greatly benefit from such changes. This plant can be the key ingredient in many food and cosmetic products.

However, due to its chemical components, it shares significant amounts of THC and CBD, similar to the narcotic plant cannabis.

Currently, the ministry has granted permission to the Highland Research and Development Institute, a public organisation, to grow local hemp strains in Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Tak and Phetchabun provinces. Most hemp strains found in the country have outstanding fibre quality with low levels of THC and CBD, making it good for the textile industry, the FDA secretary-general said.

Regarding media reports on Wednesday which said the use of medicinal cannabis oil owned by the president of the Khaokwan Foundation, Decha Siripat, was still banned, Dr Tares said a meeting of a sub-committee on cannabis-deprived products did not discuss Mr Decha's cannabis oil.

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