Cannabis plant give-away in Buri Ram
One thousand cannabis plants will be distributed for free to people in Buri Ram starting on Friday, one day after marijuana is officially delisted as a narcotic, Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said.
He said the giveaway, which will last until Sunday at the Chang International Circuit, is a prelude to a nationwide campaign to hand 1 million cannabis seedlings to people to grow at home for cooking and medical use.
He said that even though cannabis and hemp will be decriminalised from Thursday, processing the plant into commercial products requires a licence.
"We're at a crucial point where we make history," Mr Anutin said. "But we need to recognise the importance of the proper use of cannabis.
"We will never revert [the legal status of] cannabis," he added.
Thongchai Keeratihatthayakorn, deputy public health permanent secretary, said that starting this month, all parts of cannabis and hemp -- except extracts containing more than 0.2% of THC, the plant's psychoactive ingredient -- will no longer be on the narcotics list.
He said the ministry has asked state agencies to issue rules surrounding the control of cannabis.
The Department of Health said smoke generated from burning cannabis can disturb people. Law enforcement officers can seek prosecution against anyone smoking in public.
Dr Thongchai said he has proposed to the Office of the Consumer Protection Board that clear rules are put in place to regulate the recreational use of cannabis.
Traisuree Taisaranakul, deputy government spokeswoman, said Mr Anutin has long pushed for cannabis legalisation for medical use and economic benefits.
The Department of Land Transport is expected to warn public transport drivers to refrain from consuming cannabis while working or else they'll be charged.
From Thursday, people can freely grow cannabis after registering on plookganja.fda.moph.go.th and the Food and Drug Administration's app. They must register personal information and give a reason for planting cannabis before permission is given.
The move has also affected people who were jailed for cannabis-related offences.
More than 4,000 inmates charged or convicted for cannabis-related offences will be released from prison when the decriminalisation of cannabis takes effect, according to the Corrections Department.