Homegrown weed gets OK despite glitch

Homegrown weed gets OK despite glitch

The Public Health Ministry has assured people they can grow cannabis plants at home from June 9, even though the Cannabis and Hemp Act may not be finalised in time.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul on Saturday said the ministry has been disseminating as much information as possible to citizens nationwide about the use of cannabis, as it will be delisted from narcotics lists from June 9.

Mr Anutin stressed the ministry's policy is purely aimed at promoting cannabis for medical purposes to boost people's health care. Cooperation of various sectors will also be needed to make it work.

"Overconsumption of cannabis can cause health problems. The benefits from the intake of cannabis, such as increasing the taste of food, depend on how we consume it. Wrongly used cannabis will violate public health regulations," said Mr Anutin.

Despite the fact the passage of the Cannabis and Hemp Act may not meet the June 9 target, the delay will not affect plans to allow home cultivation, Mr Anutin said.

Dr Paisarn Dunkum, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), said the cannabis and hemp bill is currently passing through all the necessary legislative phases.

The FDA has finished development of an app that enables smartphone users to submit a request for home cultivation permission, Dr Paisarn said.

The delisting 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.

Special permission must be sought for extractions containing more than 0.2% THC by weight, although these are likely to requested by the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, Dr Paisarn added.

The bill prohibits pregnant women and children from consuming cannabis.

Dr Paisarn said the FDA views cannabis as a cash crop that might help to stimulate the economy alongside its medicinal uses.

Since the beginning of the month, the FDA has approved 1,000 cannabis-based products including herbal medicines, food and beverages.

Dr Paisarn said the advertising of cannabis-based products will be vetted by the FDA, with cosmetics being the sole exception. The FDA will also consider setting up a cannabis rehabilitation fund to help those who develop a problem with the drug, he added.

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