Good news, residents of Thailand: The government is set to give away 1 million cannabis plants to citizens this June.
The Thai government recently removed cannabis from its drugs list. It had legalized the drug in 2018 for research and medical use, but now has allowed people to cultivate plants at home – as long as it isn't used for commercial purposes. Anyone who wants to grow the plant can notify the local government from June 9.
In order to encourage growing cannabis – which they intend to promote as a cash crop – they will also be giving away 1 million plants to be grown at home.
Of course, there's a catch. Citizens will only be able to grow plants that contain less than 0.2 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – the psychoactive compound in cannabis that gets you high – and the cannabis should be used for medical purposes only.
It is unclear how the country will enforce this, and whether they see it as a priority to enforce it at all. The plants will still be allowed to contain cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis, plus other compounds thought to contribute to the plant's medicinal properties.
Businesses that hope to cash in on the plant will still have to apply for licenses to grow and process it.
Announcing the initiative on Facebook, Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul noted that using cannabis can lead to a better quality of life for cancer patients as well as people with chronic pain or insomnia. The statement goes on to say that use of the drug by terminal cancer patients and insomniacs significantly reduced the use of sedatives in medical trials.
The country has seen a boom in CBD products since 2018, including everything from CBD brownies to weed-infused sushi. The government hopes that the supplement industry will continue to boom when restrictions are further lifted in June, and hopefully attract more tourists lost during the continuing COVID-19 pandemic.