11 July 2024

Marijuana, or “kanja” as it is known in Thailand, can now be grown legally and used in medical and scientific applicationswith the consent of the authorities concerned.

The Narcotics Act B.E. 2562, which seeks to amend specific provisions of the Narcotics Act of 1979 to enable the use of marijuana for the treatment of patients, study, research and development as well as for agricultural, commercial and industrial uses for medical benefits, has been published in the Royal Gazette.

However, the legal use of marijuana will be placed under the control of a committee headed by the permanent secretary of agriculture and comprises heads of several departments such as the Health Support Services Department, the Industrial Works Department, the Mental Health Department and the Medical Council.

The law also allows for the legal use of “kanchong”, or hemp,with consent from the committee.

Import and export of marijuana in quantities appropriate formedical treatment of certain ailments is now possible under the law, but there must be a prescription or a certificate from a certified medical practitioner. However, the import or export ofmarijuana in excess of 10 kilogrammes is not permissible as this will be considered trafficking in narcotics.

This is the first time in Thailand that marijuana can be used legally for medical or scientific purposes despite the fact that the plant has long been known to possess medicinal qualities.

The controlled use of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes is considered an initial step which will eventually lead to wider use for other purposes.  The Bhumjai Thai party has used the marijuana debate as a main campaign strategy, promising greater use of the plant in the future.