Thailand gives go-ahead to growing cannabis at home – subject to notifying local government

Updated: Mar 10

Thailand’s narcotics board has confirmed that it will take cannabis off its drugs list, a move that would enable households in the Asian country to grow the plant.

It follows the state’s move in 2018 to legalise marijuana for medical use and research, which made it the first country in Southeast Asia to do so.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that while the new rule would allow people to grow cannabis plants at home on the condition of letting their local government know, further licences would be required by those wishing to use it for commercial purposes.

There is a need for the rule to be published in the official Royal Gazette, and 120 days must pass before the growth of home cannabis plants will become legal.

What else do we know about Thailand’s latest moves on cannabis?

Looking more specifically at the prospects for cannabis industry business development in Thailand, Reuters reported that the health ministry would present to the country’s parliament a separate draft bill setting out information on the legal use of cannabis. This is set to cover the production and commercial use of cannabis, including guidelines on recreational use.

Food and drug regulator chief Paisal Dankhum has previously stated that homegrown cannabis should be used for medical purposes such as traditional medicine and that random inspections would take place.

According to the draft bill, those who grow cannabis without first notifying the local government can be hit with a fine of up to 20,000 baht (£449). Selling cannabis without a licence, meanwhile, can bring a fine of as much as 300,000 baht (£6,742), or three years’ imprisonment, or both, again as outlined in the draft bill.

Sky News reported that Mr Anutin had been driving the move to decriminalise the drug in Thailand, and that it is anticipated the latest rule will help promote cannabis products as one of the country’s major industries.

He recently stated that the delisting “responds to the government’s urgent policy in developing marijuana and hemp for medical and healthcare benefits, developing technology and creating income for the public”.

Thai drinks and cosmetics firms have already released products containing hemp and CBD, following the approval last year of their use in consumer goods.

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