Thailand isn’t just dipping its toe in the weed pool, its diving right in. The country has quickly gone through a succession of updates that led to a medical legalization, decriminalization, and now the giving out of a million free marijuana plants. Why is this happening? And what can we expect next?
Thailand is actually giving away free marijuana plants to its residents to grow for medical purposes, as celebration for its new cannabis decriminalization policy. Our publication specializes in covering the growing cannabis and psychedelics fields of today. Play along by signing up for THC Weekly Newsletter, and also get access to awesome products including cannabinoid compounds like HHC-O, Delta 8, Delta 9 THC, Delta-10 HHC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC. There are lot of cannabis products out there, and we only encourage consumers buy products they are comfortable with using.
Is Thailand seriously giving out a million free marijuana plants?
Indeed it is! And we knew it was coming. In May of this year, the government of Thailand announced plans for giving away a million free marijuana plants to households across the country. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, announced via Facebook on May 8th, that he wants weed grown like a household crop by the Thai people.
Why is Thailand giving away a million free marijuana plants? As a sort of promotion of its own new law. Stating on the 9th of June, cannabis was removed from the narcotics drugs list in the country, which decriminalized the plant. Along with that, a new allowance was put in place for Thai residents to legally cultivate the plant at home, so long as they notify their local government first. The catch is that the plants are only for medical purposes, and therefore must be medical grade, with a .2% THC cap.
The weed grown in homes can’t be used for commercial purposes, though there does seem to be a possibility to gain further licensing for this activity. In fact, the government wants Thailand to see cannabis as a cash crop. About 1/3 of Thailand’s labor force is in agriculture, making the home-growing of weed, kind of like an extension of general industry.
Thailand is indeed giving out a million free marijuana plants of .2% THC or less to its people. Charnvirakul confirmed the government’s intention to give out free test kits as well, so growers can ensure their plants don’t go above the limit. If the plants do go above the THC limit, they are no longer considered legal. The Thai government doesn’t promote the population getting high, it only promotes the cultivation of low-THC cannabis as a medicine.
There are other stipulations in place as well. Inspections can be made to ensure all cannabis is grown and used properly. Those that don’t notify their government of their intentions to grow, can find themselves paying steep fines. The same goes for anyone who is caught selling a cannabis product without the proper licensing, which can result in jail time along with a fine.
The kick-off ‘event’
Thailand is celebrating its legal change by giving away a million free marijuana plants, but there’s more to it than that. Several things happened the day the decriminalization law went into effect, creating an event-like atmosphere. Everything began June 9th when cannabis was removed from the list of narcotic drugs.
Another aspect of the decriminalization is that it covers cannabis in food products. Starting June 9th, restaurants began serving cannabis edible products to their customers. Such products are bound by the .2% THC limit, but are now otherwise legal for sale. In doing so, Thailand became the first Asian country to approve such products in its market. This new allowance has already led to many shops offering up cannabis-infused foods.
On the same day, over 350,000 registered applicants were able to start home cultivation, having signed up via internet application to do so with their local government. And 4,000 prisoners were released who had been held on cannabis-related charges, showing that this new law is not just meant for industry, but to correct social injustices as well.
The day after everything went into effect, the government of Thailand began giving out the million free marijuana plants. The first 1,000 were distributed in the north-eastern province of Buriram. Charnvirakul made the statement to the people upon this starting (roughly translated): “Don’t use it and sit smiling at home and not get any work done. Those things are not our policies. We have erased the stigma. It’s being washed away like removing a tattoo. Don’t let it come back.”
Thailand and cannabis updates
Thailand sure has changed tack in the last few years, going through an entire overhaul of cannabis laws, and becoming the first in its region to pass a legalization measure. Thailand did this in 2018, when the National Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to pass a medical legalization in the country. This officially went into effect in 2019.
As is generally the case, this legalization did nothing to change recreational use laws, or any other laws surrounding cannabis. Cannabis remained a Category 5 narcotic, under the Narcotics Act of 1979 (though it was updated in 2019 for the medical legalization). Under the law, it meant the illegal possession of cannabis still incurred punishment of up to 15 years in prison and a fine of about 1.5 million baht (~$48,000).
On January 25th, 2022, Thailand went further and announced an intention to decriminalize cannabis by removing it from its narcotic drugs list. This new update was announced to come with home cultivation rights, so long as the growers first gained authorization from their local government. None of this went into effect right away, and still required further rules to come out for specifications. Unlike other countries that have taken (or are taking) a long time to get all this together, Thailand did it in just a few months, officially decriminalizing the plant June 9th.
Said Charnvirakul about removing cannabis from the narcotics drug list, this act “responds to the government’s urgent policy in developing marijuana and hemp for medical and health care benefits, developing technology and creating income for the public.”
What about the chickens?
Thailand is really getting into the marijuana groove, as evidenced by everything above. But that’s not where it ends. Thailand is even looking to change how it raises farm animals. In a recent study by Peth Lanna community enterprise in conjunction with the Faculty of Agriculture out of Chiang Mai University, it was found that cannabis can replace antibiotics for livestock.
For the study, farmers in northern Thailand’s Lampang village chose to give their chickens cannabis in light of an avian bronchitis outbreak, for which injected antibiotics didn’t work. When the chickens were fed cannabis, their immunity improved enough to fight the disease, and even allowed the chickens greater ability to survive in inclement weather, according to news publications. The community went as far as to say the cannabis improved the quality of both meat and eggs.
The community enterprise ended the use of antibiotics, and instead has opted to solely use cannabis. The meat and eggs produced by the community are now considered organic, which meets the needs of consumers looking for untainted products. This comes on top of warnings by the National Farmers Council of Prapat Panyachatrak, that antibiotics in meat can affect consumer health. The group now promotes the use of cannabis to raise the market value of chicken products.
Whether or not this will catch on as a standard practice in Thailand is hard to say. If the country’s recent push toward cannabis acceptance is any indication, this could certainly become standard operating procedure for raising chickens, and possibly other farm animals, as well.
Thailand is breaking strongly with its neighbors, not only becoming the first in the region to legalize medical cannabis, but now decriminalizing the plant, and offering it to residents for home-growing. The government of Thailand made a very strong statement by openly giving away a million marijuana plants to its residents, something which isn’t seen often. Or at all, until now. The only thing left for Thailand to do, is pass a formal recreational legalization. Though we’re not there yet, Thailand’s already existent and rich weed culture, could help make that happen in the future.
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