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The Thai government is encouraging local farmers to grow cannabis as long as they partner with a provincial hospital to use the plant for medicinal purposes, while marijuana traffickers are still being busted by the police, many smuggling the plant across the Mekong River. A deputy government spokesperson told Reuters that the government hopes cannabis and hemp will be a "farmers' primary cash crop."
Thailand removed certain parts of cannabis from the narcotics list late last year. Parts of a plant with high amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, a psychoactive component, is still classified as Category 5 narcotics.
According to deputy government spokesperson Traisulee Traisoranakul, 2,500 households in Thailand and 251 provincial hospitals have legally grown 15,000 cannabis plants so far. She says the authorities have to seek approval from those interested in growing cannabis. Licenses to grow cannabis can be obtained by universities, community businesses, and those in the medical industry.
"By partnering with provincial hospitals for medical use, everybody has the right to grow marijuana."
With the declassification of certain parts of cannabis, the plant can be used in restaurant food and beverages. Some cafes and restaurants have started to offer dishes made with cannabis leaves over the past few months. Traisulee says that cannabis from an approved producer was used in food ends. She says that next month, the Medical Marijuana Institute will hold information sessions.