DoA to instruct farmers how to grow cannabis

DoA to instruct farmers how to grow cannabis

The Department of Agriculture (DoA) is producing handbooks on growing cannabis as part of efforts to register wider varieties of the indigenous plant, according to the Agriculture Ministry.

Deputy of Agriculture Minister Mananya Thaiset said on Thursday the DoA was making plans to accommodate the delisting of cannabis.

Earlier this week, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) endorsed the delisting of cannabis and hemp as a Category 5 narcotic substance. The measure excludes cannabis and hemp extracts containing more than 0.2% by weight of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the chemical responsible for most of cannabis's psychological effects.

The delisting was urged by the governing coalition's Bhumjaithai Party, whose election platform includes cannabis legalisation. Ms Mananya is a member of the party. The party has also sponsored a bill to legally recognise the use of cannabis and hemp for medical and scientific purposes.

The delisting of cannabis and hemp was specified in a draft announcement by the Public Health Ministry. It likewise will be contained in the Bhumjaithai-sponsored bill.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who also leads the Bhumjaithai Party, said earlier that he counted on lawmakers to pass the bill, which he said regards cannabis as a herbal plant able to generate medicinal and economic benefits.

Pichet Wiriyapaha, DoA director-general, said the agency was publishing a handbook about growing cannabis, to be distributed to farmers.

The DoA will also work with the Department of Land Development in devising a map of where best to plant cannabis in Thailand. He added the DoA is studying and propagating 39 cannabis varieties in 87 experimental locations. On Wednesday, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam cautioned against growing cannabis now, urging people to wait until the Bhumjathai-sponsored law is enacted.

Mr Pichet said the department has registered five varieties of cannabis and eight varieties of hemp. The DoA was also authenticating the origins of certain varieties where registration had been sought. Applications were being accepted for new varieties of cannabis and hemp to give people seeking to grow the plants more choices.

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