In an effort to boost the agricultural and tourism sector, Thailand decriminalized cannabis and hemp consumption on Thursday. The announcement was made by Thailand's Food and Drug Administration's secretary-general Dr Paisarn Dunkum, who also mentioned that as per the new law, citizens will be allowed to grow cannabis if they register with the FDA first through an app PlookGanja or grow ganja, a nickname of the plant.
Ever since the announcement was made the app has been downloaded almost 50,000 times and more than 100,000 people have already completed the registration, Dunkum added later.
As the first Asian country to legalize marijuana consumption, Thailand is infamous for its harsh punishments for anti-drug law violations. The new law, however, legalizes the entire process from production to consumption.
The government is now planning to introduce the plant as a cash crop, and give away a million plants to encourage farmers to take up its cultivation, as per CNA. Thailand's Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said that with right awareness, 'cannabis is like gold' but adequate knowledge about how to properly utilize the drug is a must.
According to CNN, he further explained that with this move, the government is aiming to "build an awareness" which is a much better alternative than constantly monitoring and punishing individuals.
There are certain limitations decided by the authorities though, the most important one is that the recreational use of cannabis is still illegal. The possession and sale of cannabis extracts containing more than 0.2 % of tetrahydrocannabinol, is not allowed. As the chief psychoactive constituent of Cannabis, Tetrahydrocannabinol produces the "high" experienced while smoking marijuana.
The violation of this law can still land individuals in jail with a 3-month sentence and 25,000 baht ($780) fine.
Thailand had previously legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2018, with an aim to offer better treatment for a wide range of conditions, like glaucoma, epilepsy, chronic pain as well as the side effects of chemotherapy.