Weed farms fret as MFP mulls U-turn
published : 25 May 2023 at 06:01
newspaper section: News
writer: Prasit Tangprasert
Community enterprises that grow cannabis on plantations in Nakhon Ratchasima are urging the next government, to be led by the Move Forward Party (MFP), to list only cannabis buds as narcotic drugs.
The MFP and its seven coalition partners touched on this topic in the memorandum of understanding (MoU) they signed on Monday evening, which will serve as policy guidelines for the government they plan to form together.
One includes re-listing cannabis as a narcotic and introducing a law to regulate its use. But the move has raised concern among community enterprises that have invested in greenhouses to grow the plant with the aim of selling it.
"Canabis One @KORAT", a cannabis farm in Nakhon Ratchasima which is jointly run by a local community enterprise and Rajamangala University of Technology Isan for distribution and medical use, is still growing thousands of cannabis plants.
The farm secured a licence to operate a cannabis clinic with many cannabis-based medicines extracted from leaves, buds and roots.
Sunisa Sobkratok, CEO of Remedy Cann clinic, told reporters the MoU regarding the use of cannabis will harm community enterprises.
These have submitted applications to grow cannabis for medical use by delivering buds to state medical institutes.
But after the plant was decriminalised last June 9, the law allowed people to grow the plant at home, which caused investment losses for these enterprises.
Ms Sunisa urged the new government to announce what they can do without falling foul of the law, and what kinds of products they can produce using cannabis and hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD), which is not a psychoactive ingredient.
Additionally, she urged the new government to review its plan, perhaps by re-listing only cannabis buds as a narcotic, as well as providing compensation to community enterprises that will be affected by the change.
"Community enterprises are being labelled as criminals because they grow the plant, but their greenhouses were built under the standards laid down by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA] and Public Health Ministry," she said.
The new government should promote cannabis as a cash crop and issue clear rules to restrict sales to under-age consumers to support the industry's healthy growth, Ms Sunisa added.