Promoting cannabis would create jobs and generate income

Date:

An academic conference on medical cannabis has concluded in Kanchanaburi, as part of a series of conferences on the issue to be held in several provinces. The latest conference was for audiences and healthcare personnel in the 5th Public Health Region.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul presided over the opening of the conference, saying efforts are underway to promote cannabis as a cash crop that would create jobs and generate income.

“We are working to allow Thai people to cultivate cannabis for medical uses without permission like other herbs,” Anutin said.

The event included exchanges of knowledge on cannabis and hemp for healthcare personnel, volunteers and entrepreneurs. One of the aims is to enable people to carry out cannabis-related activities in compliance with the law.

After launching the conference, the health minister demonstrated his flair for cooking by making “kaphrao” dishes containing cannabis. Other food items made with cannabis were also available for tasting and purchase.

The event will be taking place until Sunday (13 Mar).

The 5th Public Health Region comprises Ratchaburi, Phetchaburi, Suphan Buri, Kanchanaburi, Samut Songkhram, Samut Sakhon, Nakhon Pathom and Prachuap Khiri Khan. The 8 provinces now have a combined 3,000 rai of cannabis plantation area and three certified cannabis processing plants. The plants are run by Don Tum Hospital in Nakhon Pathom, U-Thong Hospital in Suphan Buri, and Chao Khun Phaiboon Hospital in Kanchanaburi. Cannabis extracts are also being used by Thai medical practitioners delivering palliative care to patients at Ratchaburi Hospital in Ratchaburi province.

Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize marijuana for medicinal use by delisting it as a controlled drug under the Narcotics Code. The new cannabis laws have since paved the way for many to legally grow cannabis for medical and research purposes under the government’s permission. 

However, cannabis products that have more than 2 per cent of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element found in cannabis, are still unlawful.

The Ministry of Public Health has reported that more than 240,000 patients have so far been prescribed medical cannabis letting the country record over 7 billion baht of income.With goals to revive the lacklustre tourism industry, public health officials said earlier this week that they view the legalization of cannabis as the nation’s “secret weapon,” one where they could lure foreign visitors. Officials also hope to declare Covid-19 as endemic, a decision they believe will also help pull in tourists. 

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