Cabinet approves broadening law on growing medical cannabis

Cabinet approves broadening law on growing medical cannabis

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul harvests the first head taken from marijuana planted in a closed-system farm run by Maejo University in Chiang Mai’s San Sai district  on Jan 15 this year. (File photo)
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul harvests the first head taken from marijuana planted in a closed-system farm run by Maejo University in Chiang Mai’s San Sai district on Jan 15 this year. (File photo)

The cabinet on Tuesday approved in principle a Public Health Ministry proposal to amend the Narcotics Act to allow patients, medical practitioners and traditional healers to grow cannabis for medical and commercial purposes.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisulee Traisoranakul said the cabinet approved the proposal submitted by Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to amend narcotics legislation enacted last year.

The draft amendment, if passed, would allow patients with a medical certificate, medical practitioners and traditional healers or folk healers to grow cannabis for medical treatment. 

The proposed amendment also allows manufacturers of medical products to produce, import and export or possess the Category 5 narcotic cannabis.

The existing law allowed only state agencies or those who sought permission but must work with state agencies to produce, import or export cannabis, while medical practioners and folk healers are not allowed to grow cannabis for medical treatment, Ms Traisulee said.

The Public Health Ministry held a public hearing to get views from people regarding the  draft amendment on June 5. 

The draft bill would now be forwarded to the Office of the Council of State for examination before being sent to a coordinating House panel for consideration. The panel would then forward it to the lower House, she said.

The government hopes the amendment will enable manufacturers of medicinal cannabis products to compete in international markets.


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