One Million Cannabis Plant Giveaway in Thailand

Stephen Andrews
15 May 2022

Thailand wrote history in recent years as the first country in Asia to advance the legal status of cannabis. Now the country is set to dispatch as many as 1 million cannabis plants for home cultivation. It's all part of its government's bigger plan to redefine cannabis as a "household crop" and to cherish and celebrate legalization.

The unprecedented plant giveaway was announced by Thailand's Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul in a Facebook post shared on May 8. The health minister further said, as of June 9, Thai residents may grow "as many cannabis plants" as they wish in their homes, given that it's for medical purposes. 

According to Charnvirakul, official registration is not required for growing cannabis at home. However, licensing is required for commercial cannabis and hemp businesses.

Thailand currently has a law that says registered companies selling cannabis goods must comply with a 0.2 percent THC limit. 

The health minister said that people could operate cannabis businesses and enterprises with the new regulations.

"This will enable people and the government to generate more than 10 billion baht [approximately $290,000,000 a year] in revenue from marijuana and hemp," the minister said, according to The Nation Thailand

"Meanwhile, people can showcase their cannabis and hemp-related products and wisdom and sell their products nationwide," he said.  

Charnvirakul added that no concession would be introduced so that cannabis entrepreneurs could compete freely in the national market. 

Small-scale operators won't be required to register with Thailand's Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, this remains the requirement for larger enterprises. 

Cannabis advocates in the country hope that easing regulation on cannabis would help the Thai economy recover after the Covid-19 crisis. Thailand implemented a full-scale national lockdown, curfews, and 2-week mandatory quarantine for international travelers in the early days of the pandemic. 

Before that, in 2018, the Southeast Asian country became the first in the region to legalize cannabis for medical uses. The law was amended in 2020 to allow for the private production and sale of medical cannabis. Finally, in 2021, Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize recreational cannabis

While the Asian country appears to introduce generous cannabis laws, punishment remains in place for those who breach the rules and regulations. Caught selling commercially grown cannabis without permission amounts to a fine of up to 20,000 baht (roughly $580). Without a license, the fine climbs to 300,000 baht (approximately $8,700) and up to three years in jail. 

The advance in cannabis regulation and law in Thailand is anticipated to stir a domino effect in the region as cannabis becomes the new cash commodity and other countries begin to adopt similar easings of the rules.

Stephen Andrews