'Few hurdles' likely for revised cannabis law
The bill to amend the present cannabis and hemp laws has been completed and will go before the House of Representatives for a second reading next week, said Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
Mr Anutin on Satruday presided over a meeting on medical cannabis in Chiang Rai which was attended by the Public Health Ministry's executive officials, state agencies, the private sector and more than 1,000 people.
Mr Anutin said the June 9 delisting of cannabis from the narcotics list had only ever been for medical purposes and there had been no intention to promote it for recreational use.
It is hoped the plant can become a cash crop and help generate income in the medical marijuana market tipped to top 10 billion baht in value in the next couple of years, he said.
"The bill has a total of 103 sections and I believe it will pass without any problems because it is the result of collaboration with every party," said Mr Anutin.
The bill is intended to limit abuse of the plant, and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, at levels exceeding 0.2% will still be considered an illegal narcotic substance. In addition, advertising of cannabis-related products will be strictly controlled, he said.
Public Health Region 1 in the north -- comprising Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phrae, Nan, Phayao, Lampang, Lamphun and Mae Hong Son -- has driven the cannabis policy, said Mr Anutin.
For instance, Nakornping and Chiang Rai Prachanukroh hospitals have launched cannabis clinics for onsite and online health checks while Pai Hospital in Mae Hong Son offers cannabis treatment with modern medicine for curing insomnia, he said. Phrae Hospital also developed an integrated registration and alert system for new growers and those suffering ill effects following cannabis treatment.
The hospital also collaborated on research with other universities on the development of new cannabidiol (CBD) products such as soap and shampoo.