Thailand’s Tourism and Sports and Public Health ministries are ready to launch their first medical marijuana tour in Southeast Asia in 2021 after finalizing a draft program for marijuana plantations across Thailand.
Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, Thailand’s Minister for tourism and sports said that the goal of the governments tour is to increase awareness among Thailand’s plantation owners of marijuana for medical purposes and inform those who are interested in growing the plant about the laws that will impact their growing and selling plants.
Currently eight provinces in Thailand have plantations that could be part of the tour, comprising Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Samut Songkhram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Phatthalung and Chon Buri.
Phiphat said that, “In the early stages, the program aims to educate locals who would like to form a community enterprise and bid to become authorized cannabis growers. This program will pave the way for a basic understanding of marijuana and its economic benefits.” He said the Tourism Department was assigned to work with the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department in promoting medical tourism, including herbs and marijuana for traditional medicine.
Under a memorandum of understanding signed by the two departments, they plan to stimulate the growth of marijuana for medical purposes and assist locals to create new revenue sources with better skills and knowledge of marijuana and herbal tourism.
The tour program seeks to assure local communities that are still concerned about the policy and will showcase every aspect in marijuana cultivation, marketing and sales; including the best organic growing practices, how to brand and market their products and how to sell their products, as well as applicable government regulations.
In August 2020, Thailand’s cabinet approved amending the Narcotics Act to allow private medical practitioners, including some traditional healers, and farmers to grow the plant for medical treatment. This followed the controlled legalization of marijuana in 2018, which saw Thailand become the first country in Southeast Asia to allow state agencies or those who sought permission to grow cannabis, following the regulations of government agencies.
Although the government plans to support growers of medical marijuana, recreational marijuana use is still forbidden in Thailand. Many people expect that the government will allow recreational use once plantations are actively growing the plant and the government can set-up an authorized distribution and sales system that will include appropriate sales taxes.
Currently the government is planning to host a cannabis expo in Buri Ram in October that will strengthen Thailand’s position as Southeast Asia’s medical marijuana center. The government wants this to be a big multi-media event that will welcome international buyers and sellers who are involved in marijuana medical science.