Bhumjaithai calls ganja forum

Bhumjaithai calls ganja forum

Households could grow six plants each

The Bhumjaithai Party is holding a public forum on Saturday to gather public input on a bill that seeks to allow people to grow cannabis plants at home.

Key party member Supachai Jaisamut said various interest groups have been invited, including patients, state officials, Thai traditional medicine practitioners and folk doctors. "This bill will be tabled before the House next week," he said.

The draft, Mr Supachai said, seeks to amend the Narcotics Act to allow each household to grow a maximum of six cannabis plants. Bhumjaithai won plenty of support in the last election by pledging to liberalise the use of marijuana and promote the cannabis plant as a cash crop. However, the pledges have yet to materialise as the government has only moved to allow the use of marijuana for medical and research purposes.

Separately, the Minister of Public Health, Anutin Charnvirakul, promoted  the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) secretary-general, Tares Krassanairawiwong, to director-general of the Department of Health Service Support (DHSS) on Wednesday.

Dr Tares has supported the ministry's efforts to liberalise the use of cannabis for medical purposes, and was instrumental in drafting several cannabis-related regulations -- including the ministry's latest decision to remove hemp and hemp extracts from the controlled substances list under Category 5 of the Narcotics Act. "The appointment will allow Dr Tares to take on more complicated jobs and build his credentials as a candidate for the ministry's top post," said Mr Anutin on Wednesday.

Mr Anutin said Dr Tares will be asked to come up with a plan to make better use of Thailand's one million health volunteers to improve the healthcare system. In addition to Dr Tares' promotion, the cabinet also approved the rotation of three other positions.

The Public Health Ministry's deputy permanent secretary, Dr Paisan Dankhum, will replace Dr Tares as the FDA's secretary-general, while Dr Narong Saiwong, the ministry's inspector, and senior medical expert Dr Yongyuth Thammawut, will become the ministry's new deputy permanent secretaries.

Meanwhile, Mr Anutin said that the ministry has accepted a request to increase the overall ratio of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to cannabidiol (CBD) in hemp products from 0.2% to 1% by weight.

The move is done to help small-scale entrepreneurs, as the previous cap of 0.2% was considered impractical by medical marijuana advocates, he said.

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