New regulations for hemp, cannabis
The Agriculture Department plans to regulate the use of hemp and cannabis seeds, saying importers must seek permission from the department.
Pichet Wiriyapapha, the department director-general, said on Tuesday at a press conference that the department would announce its seed-control regulation plan in May.
The regulations would help authorities select proper hemp and cannabis seeds that can be planted in the country.
"Now we have only four strains of hemp developed for higher-fibre yield, but not for the strain for higher CBD that is currently required for cosmetics and healthcare products. That is why we do need to actively develop such a strain to respond to the high demand in the market," he said.
Mr Pichet said the department is drafting regulations because it was aware of the rising demand for hemp but the law lacks a clear definition of what type of hemp is acceptable to spur future economic growth using the plant.
He said as a result local farmers might be duped into buying the wrong strains for planting which could end up with them falling into debt.
Mr Pichet said any farmer who wants to plant hemp should get advice from the department first in order to obtain useful information on how to plant and take care of hemp, together with advice on the proper hemp strain to use.
He said that the department plans to set guidelines for planting hemp of each strain yielding CBD or fibre, which are expected to be completed within the next few months.
He said hemp strains high in CBD usually come from Europe and China and require cool weather. The department is going to develop a strain that suits the local climate.
The Narcotics Control Board earlier this year agreed to remove cannabis and hemp leaves and their parts from the narcotic drugs list.
Board members resolved to remove stems, stalks and roots from cannabis plants and hemp, together with a component of CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) with less than 0.2% of the total gross from the narcotic drug list.
The removal also covers hemp's non-viable seed, oil extract, or any substance extracted from hemp.
However, flowers and buds are not off the list and are still classified as a Category 5 narcotic.