Thailand to consider legalizing homegrown marijuana

Households would be permitted up to six cannabis plants for medical use under proposed amendment

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(AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Thai lawmakers have introduced an amendment to the Narcotics Act to allow Thais to grow a limited amount of cannabis for personal consumption as the country seeks to develop its nascent medical marijuana industry.

Under the bill put forth by the Bhumanjaithai Party, households would be permitted to grow up to six marijuana plants for individual use. The party boasts the third-largest number of members in the Thai parliament's ruling coalition, picking up 39 seats in the March elections after campaigning on a promise to legalize the plant.

Senior Bhumanjaithai legislator Supachai Jaisamut has said the bill tops the party's agenda, expressing confidence that it would "greatly benefit the people" if it clears the 500-vote threshold needed to pass into law, the Bangkok Post reports. It will be up for debate after Thailand's legislature returns to session in November.

The legislation would also provide for an institute to govern R&D, distribution, and trade in the industry as well as license growers. Supachai said this authority would be in accordance with the UN International Drug Control Convention of which Thailand is a signatory.

The lawmaker stressed that the proposed law is intended for medical purposes, telling Reuters "You can have it at home for ailments, but not smoke it on the street." While Thailand's junta-led government legalized medical cannabis in December of last year, recreational use remains highly illegal in the country, with simple possession carrying a prison sentence of up to 10 years.