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The Cannhealth Institute has chosen a village near a hospital in the province of Buri Ram to be the first to be authorized to grow medicinal marijuana at home under a ministry-sanctioned pilot project that is set to commence early next year.
Dr Kitti Losuwanrak, director of the Cannhealth Institute under the Ministry of Public Health, said on Sunday that if all of its recommendations are accepted, the pilot project will commence in January.
The scheme is part of a drive by the ministry to encourage ordinary citizens to cultivate marijuana for medicinal purposes at home. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, is heading the campaign.
The Cannhealth Institute will supply Mr Anutin with the specifics of the homegrown cannabis initiative for final approval.
The project will also need permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since, even though it is intended for medicinal purposes, cultivating homegrown marijuana is still illegal.
At the end of 2018, the nation passed a bill to legalize the medicinal usage of marijuana, but only when the state allows it.
"If approved, the province of Buri Ram will become the first in the nation where people can grow cannabis for medical purposes in their homes without facing legal action," Dr Kitti told the media yesterday.
The scheme includes 10 households in a village near the Khu Muang district of the province's Ban Noen Malai Hospital.
Six cannabis plants will be permitted for each house to expand in its greenhouse.
"In their homes, villagers can grow cannabis," Dr Kitti said. "They just need [sturdy] fences."
"Because we only accept quality, chemical-free cannabis, we need to use non-contaminated soil and water for harvesting," he said.
Since villagers demonstrated enthusiasm and the willingness to comply with ministry laws, the group was picked. They were also selected because the villagers were able to collaborate with the Ban Noen Malai Hospital to engage in the pilot project.
Dr Kitti said the pilot project might be a cover for encouraging others to cultivate marijuana at home for medicinal use. Around the same time, the health ministry is pressing to change the drug legislation of the kingdom to enable individuals to legalize the activity.
"By using this pilot as a test case, the Ministry of Public Health would like to observe the feasibility of homegrown marijuana," Dr Kitti said.