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Thailand To Give Away 1 Million Cannabis Plants

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The government will distribute 1 million free (low THC) cannabis plants to households across the country to mark a new rule allowing home grow

In a post that went instantly viral, Thailand’s Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul just announced, via Facebook, that he was going to give away 1 million cannabis plants this summer. His goal? To encourage the plant to be grown in every household. About a third of the population works in agricultural jobs.

The giveaway will occur in June, after the new Thai rule allowing home grow comes into effect.

However, this is not a huge free-for-all. Citizens will be allowed to grow cannabis at home for medical purposes only, and even then, not until after notifying local authorities. However, cultivators will not be allowed to enter into commercial dealings with the plants without being specifically licensed to do so. They will also not be able to consume anything they grow at home with a THC level higher than 0.2%

How the government will be able to control such regulations domestically is also unclear.

The move comes as Thailand positions itself, globally, as a source of legal cannabis. It remains the only country in Southeast Asia to do so. Indeed, since 2018, the country has gradually loosened restrictions around CBD and hemp. As of this February, the country removed both cannabis and hemp from the national narcotics list. Cannabis is still technically illegal for recreational use although it essentially has just been decriminalized.

The plants given away by the government will also have less than 0.2% THC in them.

The Great Asian Hemp Revolution

China takes the prize for largest hemp producer in the world – although it is still illegal, with harsh penalties including jail time, to even possess hemp seeds. Thailand is clearly challenging this kind of policy in the region – although it may take some time for their Chinese neighbour to get inspired to come along for the ride.

Regardless, the steady progress towards legalization in Thailand is bound to make an impact – and not just domestically. The entire world is now watching the progress of reform in different countries, and there are few places where the debate is not progressing.

Thailand, however, because of its history with the plant, let alone the recent move to normalize its production, is likely to lead the way in this part of the world.

And in the meantime? Its citizens are going to be very familiar with how to grow the cannabis plant – no matter the percentage of THC found in it.

Here’s hoping other governments – starting in Europe – start thinking this way.