Can Medical Cannabis save the Thailand’s tourism industry, negatively impacted by Covid 19?

The future of Thailand’s economy, especially tourism and agriculture sectors should benefit from new rules and regulations that focus on private cultivation and sale of medical cannabis.

Thai government has recently amended the Narcotics Act on Aug 4th, pending Parliament’s approval, to allow private medical operators, including some traditional medicine practitioners and farmers to both cultivate and trade the cannabis crop for both export and import. The decision further increases the benefit of Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul’s policy, that is based on controlled legalization of medical marijuana that would boost the wellness, travel, tourism and agriculture sectors of Thailand.

The latest announcement will eliminate the limitations of the initial proposal from 2018, when Thailand became the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medicinal use of the herb. Medical-marijuana clinics have already started to operate in January 2020, in the Health Ministry facilities that offer free medicine to its patients.

“Thailand is already a tourist destination for many foreigners, and marijuana will be another attraction for the country and for medical tourists,” Marut Jirasrattasiri, director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, said in an interview. Licensed private medical practitioners will have the opportunity to “grow, produce and export marijuana,” he said, adding that Thai farmers will gain “more options for income.”

The agriculture and tourism sectors that have been negatively impacted by Covid-19 situation, are crucial to the Thai economy, and medical cannabis could be the crop that saves the struggling economy. Furthermore, medical cannabis will allow more patients to have access to alternative methods for treating illnesses, which proved to be a success in western countries that have already legalized medical cannabis.

Source: Bangkok Post