Lack of rules hits farmers

Lack of rules hits farmers

Ponpawee Chitmat, right, discusses her cannabis project in Nakhon Phanom province on Wednesday. (Photo: Pattanaphong Sripiachai)
Ponpawee Chitmat, right, discusses her cannabis project in Nakhon Phanom province on Wednesday. (Photo: Pattanaphong Sripiachai)

Community enterprises in Nakhon Phanom have urged the government to compensate them after they invested in growing cannabis plants but were unable to obtain a growing licence due to obscurities in the cannabis law.

The decriminalisation of cannabis was among the Bhumjaithai Party's flagship policies in the 2019 election. Later, the coalition party declared it would pilot a cannabis city project in Nakhon Phanom, and proceeded with its plan to remove cannabis from the narcotics list.

Many local community enterprises participated in the project with tambon health promotion hospitals under the Bhumjaithai-led Public Health Ministry's policy to allow more than 100 groups to grow cannabis plants at home for medicinal purposes.

But few groups have received permits from the authorities, leaving almost 100 groups effectively stuck. They cannot grow the plants for commercial purposes either, as they are effectively illegal.

Ponpawee Chitmat, a 44-year-old member of a community enterprise growing herbs for medicinal purposes, said 10 farmers have set up such enterprises since May last year to grow cannabis, with the cooperation of tambon health promotion hospitals.

"About 250,000 baht was invested in a cultivation site and we applied for a licence more than 12 months ago, so far in vain," she said.

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