Thailand’s ailing economy, particularly its tourism and agriculture sectors, is poised to get a boost from new rules that ease the private cultivation and sale of medical marijuana.
The Cabinet amended the Narcotics Act on Aug. 4, pending Parliament’s approval, to allow private medical operators — a category including some traditional medicine practitioners and farmers — to grow and trade the crop including for both export and import. The move expands a cornerstone policy of Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who bet that the controlled legalization of marijuana would boost the wellness, travel and agriculture sectors.
The latest plan will lift limits imposed when the country in 2018 became the first in Southeast Asia to legalize medicinal use of the herb. It also follows the opening in January of a medical-marijuana clinic in the Health Ministry facilities that offer free medicine to its patients. This does not include the 147 authorized clinics in the country that are currently able to prescribe it.