Thailand Handing Out 1M Free Cannabis Plants

Yes, seriously
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 11, 2022 11:35 AM CDT
Thailand Handing Out 1M Free Cannabis Plants
Thailand Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul speaks at a news conference in Nonthaburi, Thailand, on Feb. 8 after signing a measure that drops cannabis from his ministry's list of controlled drugs.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit, file)

(Newser) – Not so unusual: a country legalizing medicinal marijuana. Very unusual: the country giving its citizens cannabis plants so they can grow pot at home. That's what's happening now in Thailand, which in 2018 legalized marijuana for medical research and use. In January, Reuters reported the country decided to strike cannabis from its drugs list, which would allow households to grow the plant as of June 9—so long as they let their local government know, use the plants for medicinal purposes, and don't sell it. Now CNN reports the government plans to dole out 1 million free cannabis plants next month.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul made the announcement on Facebook on Sunday, noting that the goal was for the plant to be grown like "household crops," with people able to grow as many as they like at home. The overarching goal is to turn cannabis into a cash crop, not only generating hundreds of millions of dollars directly each year, but also attracting foreign tourists, who've only recently begun returning in large numbers after being largely absent during the coronavirus pandemic, reports the AP.

When the measure becomes effective, possessing and using all parts of cannabis plants, including flowers and seeds, will be allowed. However, extracted content will remain illegal if it contains more than 0.2% of the psychoactive ingredient that produces a "high"—tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. Thai officials haven't explained how the conditions can be enforced. (Read more marijuana stories.)

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