From June 9, people will be allowed to grow the medical grade plant after notifying their local government
Thailand will give out one million free cannabis plants to homes across the country to mark the legalisation of the drug.
Anutin Charnvirakul, the public health minister, announced the mass handout on his Facebook page, while outlining the benefits of commercial cultivation.
In February, he signed a measure officially dropping cannabis from a list of controlled drugs and when the new rule comes into force on June 9, people will be allowed to grow cannabis plants at home after notifying their local government.
Despite its reputation for taking a hardline on drugs – popularised by TV series and movies likeBangkok Hilton and Bridget Jones – Thailand was the first in south-east Asia to sanction medical use of marijuana in 2018.
Thai officials now hope that the further easing of restrictions will allow a major new cannabis industry to blossom, injecting possibly hundreds of millions of dollars into an economy that has been badly hit by the pandemic.
One aim is to attract foreign tourists, who have recently begun returning in large numbers, to a well-regulated medical and wellness industry.
Certain rules will still apply, although the authorities have not specified how these will be monitored.
Firstly, the plants will have to be of medical grade and used only for medicinal purposes.
While possessing and using all parts of cannabis plants, including flowers and seeds, will be allowed, extracted content will remain illegal if it contains more than 0.2 per cent of the psychoactive ingredient that produces a “high” — tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Additionally, cannabis grown at home cannot be used for commercial purposes without further licences, although the authorities have not specified how they will monitor the new rules.
The Food and Drug Administration had already received about 4,700 applications by late last month for licences to import, possess, grow and produce cannabis and hemp, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported.