The Thai government has dropped cannabis and hemp extracts from its official narcotics list. According to Reuters, Thai officials made the announcement on September 2.
This move is part of the government’s efforts to promote the development of medical cannabis products.
The country legalized cannabis for purposes of research and medical treatment late last year. This is the government’s way of helping boost Thailand’s agricultural income.
Tares Krassanairawiwong, the Secretary-General of the Thai Food and Drug Administration, said that their intention for taking out cannabis and hemp extracts from the narcotics list is to allow these products to be used in medicine, food, and cosmetics. They also want to support hemp as a cash crop.
Tares added that hemp seed and hemp oil would also be exempt.
More specifically, cannabis and hemp extracts such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBD-based products, and products that contain less than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) were taken out from the narcotics Category 5 schedule. Possession of Category 5 substances is punishable by a maximum of 15 years in prison, as well as fines of up to THB1.5 million ($49,019.61).
Reuters notes that only research facilities and hospitals are currently allowed to apply for a license to develop cannabis extracts for medicinal purposes. So far, permits are not available for businesses yet.
Tares explained that cannabis cultivation, production, and sale is limited only to licensed Thai facilities for five years in order to protect the domestic industry. They are still reviewing regulations that will eventually allow businesses to apply for licenses.
The FDA website says that 334 licenses have already been issued, mainly to health agencies and hospitals.
The report further cites analysis firm Prohibition Partners as projecting that Thailand’s cannabis market will reach $660 million by the year 2024.
Patients received the first batch of medical cannabis in July. For this batch, the government delivered 10,000 bottles of cannabis oil extracts.