FILE PHOTO: A man smells cannabis plants as he attends Cannabis Expo in Buriram province, Thailand, April 19, 2019. REUTERS/Prapan Chankaew/File Photo
BANGKOK (Reuters) – A party in Thailand’s ruling coalition has proposed a draft law that would allow Thais to grow a limited amount of cannabis at home, less than a year after the country legalised the drug for medicinal purposes and research.
Under Thailand’s current drug laws, recreational users of cannabis can incur tough penalties, including up to 10 years in prison for possession and hefty fines.
A senior lawmaker in the Bhumjaithai Party, third-largest partner in the coalition and in charge of the health ministry, said the draft law would allow up to six marijuana plants per household. Cannabis is still a drug under Thai law.
“The principle is for medical use, you can have it at home for ailments, but not smoke it on the street,” Supachai Jaisamut told Reuters.
It would also allow the sale of plants to licensed institutions under the supervision of an institute for that purpose, Supachai said.
The proposed Plant-based Drug Institute would have authority to purchase, extract and export cannabidiol (CBD), the chemical derived from the cannabis plant, Supachai said, comparing it to the Californian model.
He said the law could be passed in 6 months after November when parliament re-opens if there was enough government support.
The proposal would deliver on an election promise of the Bhumjaithai Party, which campaigned on a policy to allow Thais to grow cannabis. Its supporters say the draft law is designed to develop the Thailand’s newly legal medical marijuana industry.
The Food and Drug Administration announced this month a cannabis business workshop as public and investor interest heighten after the policy was introduced.
Reporting by Panarat Thepgumpanat and Chayut Setboonsarng; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky