Marijuana growing to be tightly controlled


Only Thai citizens who join hands with the government will be allowed to cultivate medical cannabis, says the Thai narcotic control board head.

The board on Friday stressed that growers of the lucrative plant must be cooperatives, community enterprises or social enterprises made up of citizens - and not private companies.
Their business will be under the scrutiny of state agencies, must cooperate with those agencies, and must be run by Thai nationals, said the Narcotics Control Board Office secretary-general, Niyom Termsrisuk. He said the agency is also working with Kasetsart University to design a low-cost greenhouse that would enable Thai enterprises to operate their business on a small budget while preventing the crops from “leaking out”.
He added that cannabis grown by farmers might also have to be in a closed area to control air and humidity, in order to stabilise the amount of medical substances in the harvest including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The import, export, distribution and possession of the cannabis will be under the control of related government agencies.
The bill to legalise medical use of marijuana was passed in December last year, but many have expressed disappointment that the legislation excluded the private sector from the lucrative market.
Meanwhile, the dean of Rangsit University’s Institute of Integrative Medicine and Anti-Ageing on Friday threatened to file complaints against the Intellectual Property Department if it failed to reject 13 patent applications for items containing cannabis extracts. 
“Complaints will be filed with the Central Administrative Court, the Central Intellectual Property and International Trade Court, and the National Anti-Corruption Commission,” said the dean, Panthep Phuaphongphan. 
Commerce Minister Sonthirat Sonthijirawong said that he had told ordered the Intellectual Property Department to hold discussions on what to do with those patent applications.
“I hope their discussions lead to solutions and deliver maximum benefits,” he said.