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Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul said Monday that the new narcotics bill, which contains guidelines on the use of medical cannabis, will soon be examined in parliament, paving the way for patients and investors to seek state authorization to grow cannabis for medicinal purposes.
At a medical cannabis seminar on Monday, Mr Anutin vowed to continue pushing for the promotion of hemp and cannabis as the new cash crops for the country.
The government's cannabis, hemp and other herbs policies are geared towards developing them as medicines, creating economic opportunities, and setting up mechanisms to prevent negative impacts on society, he said.
The Minister of Public Health said he had instructed the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to accelerate the process of making hemp and cannabis-based medicines widely available, without violating any legislation.
The government has forwarded a draft of the revised Narcotics Act to the State Council for review. Once completed, the draft will be forwarded for endorsement and execution to the House of Representatives and the Parliament.
The new narcotics act would allow anyone with permission from the FDA to plant cannabis at home, either for medical purposes or as a cash crop.
The draft's content is far more liberal than what his party had been campaigning for at the last election, the minister said.
"I spent a year working with the FDA to revise narcotic laws. I understand the problems and I promise that we will make cannabis more accessible to the public for medical use, and its use will not lead to undesirable effects," the Minister of Health said.
"Hemp could generate income for humans once home planting is permitted."
The ministry is expected to include cannabinoids in the country's list of essential medicines after the draft is passed, which means the 30-baht universal healthcare scheme will cover medical cannabis use.
As of now, if patients are required to use medical cannabis under the universal health coverage, the costs will be covered by the ministry's spare budget, Mr Anutin said.
Due to the psychoactive effect of the plant the use of medical cannabis must be strictly controlled. There has to be a comprehensive tracking and tracking mechanism in place to prevent its abuse, the minister said.
Source Bangkok Post