Bhumjaithai calls for in-home pot plants
The Bhumjaithai Party has insisted it would submit a draft bill to the House this week to allow people to grow six marijuana plants at home.
The move came after the party's forum to gather public input on the bill was held. The party won much of its support in the March 24 election due to its pledge to legalise the use of cannabis.
Various interest groups, including non-government officials, state officials, Thai traditional medicine practitioners and folk doctors attended the forum. They were delighted over the party's initiative.
Key party member Supachai Jaisamut said on Saturday the draft bill seeks to amend the Narcotics Act to allow each household to grow a maximum of six cannabis plants for personal and household consumption.
"This is the party's top priority and we can fulfil it. If the amended bill can sail through parliament, it will greatly benefit the people,'' Mr Supachai said, adding that the bill needs the support of at least 500 legislators.
Apart from the draft bill, Mr Supachai said the party would at the same time submit another draft bill proposing the establishment of a so-called Narcotic Plants Institute.
He said the institute would be tasked with overseeing the research and development of cannabis plants, granting permission for ordinary people to grow the plants, and managing distribution, imports and exports for medical health.
Mr Supachai said the party drafted the bill to be in line with the United Nations' International Drug Control Convention that requires its signatories to set up a national agency to control the use of narcotic plants designated for medical purposes.
He insisted that if Thailand could successfully set up such an institute, all narcotic plants including opium would be controlled under it.
He said that opium could be promoted as a cash crop for medical purposes.
However, opium is not yet on the party's urgent agenda.
Rosana Tositrakul, the Thai Holistic Health Foundation's secretary-general, said the party should move forward by unlocking the state agency's five-year cannabis plantation monopoly so that people can further develop its strains.
Otherwise, in the future, Thai-made cannabis won't be able to compete with cannabis products from overseas.
Ms Rosana said the party should also take the opportunity to help folk doctors improve their methods of treatment by allowing them to plant cannabis.