Sunset in Bangkok outside the Buddhist temple Wat Suthat.

Guillén Pérez

Thailand Approves Hemp Cultivation as Part of Drug Reforms

Thailand’s cabinet has approved hemp cultivation for medicinal purposes under an Office of Narcotics Control Board plan, the Bangkok Post reports. The crop will be allowed in 15 districts in the northern provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Tak, Phetchabun, and Mae Hong Son.

Narcotics Control Board Secretary-General Sirinya Sitdhichai indicated that the species of the plants must not contain more than 1 percent THC and growers found cultivating illegal plants could face legal action. In addition to its medicinal use, the hemp grown in the nation will be made available to licensed tobacco factories.

The measure is part of more sweeping reforms by the agency that seek to determine the medical effectiveness of cannabis, kratom, and methamphetamine. Sitdhichai said that a study is underway to conclude whether kratom, native to Thailand, can be classified as an herbal medicine that can be administered at home. Kratom is known to have been traditionally chewed by farmers and laborers in Thailand seeking pain relief or an energy boost, the report states.

A similar study is underway for marijuana, which Secretary of Justice Charnchao Chaiyanukij said was necessary due to the dangers of synthesized products marketed as cannabis. Additionally, the Control Board has moved methamphetamine from a Type 1 narcotic to Type 2 in order to allow research into the medical efficacy of the drug.

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