Thai ministries are preparing a cannabis campaign, 8 provinces could participate in the program
The ministries of tourism and sports and public health are set to launch the first medical marijuana cultivation tour in Southeast Asia next year, as they finalize a proposed plantation program throughout Thailand.
The objective of this tour is to make people aware of the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes and to inform those interested in this cultivation of the laws in force, a declared Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the Minister of Tourism and Sports.
Eight provinces have plantations that could be part of the tour, including Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Samut Songkhram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Phatthalung and Chon Buri.
“As a first step, the program aims to educate local people who want to start a community business and apply to become licensed cannabis growers. This program will pave the way for a basic understanding of marijuana and its economic benefits, ”said Mr. Phiphat.
He added that the tourism department has been tasked with working with the Thai traditional and alternative medicine department to promote medical tourism, including herbs and marijuana for traditional medicine.
As part of a memorandum of understanding signed by the two departments, they want to stimulate the Thai and foreign market by developing and promoting these tourist circuits.
This cooperation is expected to help the local people create new sources of income through better skills and knowledge in marijuana and herbal tourism, Phiphat said.
On August 4, the cabinet approved a proposal to amend the Narcotics Law to allow private doctors, including some traditional healers, and farmers to grow the plant for medical treatment.
The recreational use of cannabis is still prohibited
This development follows legalization controlled in 2018, which saw Thailand become the first country in Southeast Asia to allow government agencies or those who applied for permission to cultivate cannabis, following regulations from government agencies.
However, the recreational use of marijuana is still prohibited in Thailand as the government restricts it for medical practices.
Mr Phiphat said the government is expected to hold a cannabis exhibition in Buri Ram next October, after the first edition was held in 2019.
The exhibition could strengthen Thailand's position as a medical hub for marijuana in this region, as it will host international sellers and buyers related to this medical science, he said.
The event was previously scheduled for this year, but has been postponed due to the pandemic.
Mr Phiphat said the tour schedule should reassure local communities who are still concerned about this policy.
Tour activities aim to introduce all processes, such as cultivation, regulations and how to profit from growing cannabis.
“We should regard marijuana as a legacy from the past that deserves to be preserved. Thais have been using this plant as a medicine since the time of King Narai [17th century], ”he said.
“Its medicinal properties were then verified by modern research.”