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Thailand becomes first Asian nation to remove cannabis from narcotics list

KATHMANDDU: Thailand has become the first country in Asia to take marijuana off its list of banned substances and to allow people to grow the plant at home.

It’s a major policy shift in a country long known for its harsh drug controls, but the Thai government hopes the law change will boost the wellness and tourism industries.

In January this year, Thai authorities announced they were dropping cannabis from the official list of controlled substances, resulting in what some have described as de facto decriminalisation.

Some 4,000 prisoners serving jail time for cannabis-related crimes will soon be released and their criminal records for those offences will be deleted, the Department of Corrections said.

Thailand’s Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Anutin Charnvirakul last month took to Facebook to declare his intention to give away 1 million cannabis plants to members of the public.

“It is an opportunity for people and the state to earn income from marijuana and hemp,” he wrote, alongside a photo of cooked chicken seasoned with cannabis.

“Roasted marijuana chicken, 300 baht ($12) per piece. Anyone can sell it if they obey the law,” Mr Anutin added.

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