BANGKOK (Xinhua) — Two Thai ministries on Tuesday said they have laid grounds in launching the first medical marijuana tour in Southeast Asia next year as they finalised a draft programme for plantations across Thailand.
Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health and Ministry of Tourism and Sports both said the purpose of the tour is to increase awareness of marijuana for medical purposes and to draw interests from those who might be interested in growing the plant as long as they abide by the Thai law.
Eight provinces have plantations that could be part of the tour, comprising Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Samut Songkhram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Phatthalung and Chon Buri, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.
“In the early stages, the tour program will aim to educate locals who would like to form a community enterprise and bid to become authorized cannabis growers. This program will pave the way for a basic understanding of marijuana and its economic benefits,” said Phiphat.
The Tourism Department will work with the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department in promoting medical tourism, including herbs and marijuana for traditional medicine, the minister said.
The minister said that the tour program is designed to help locals create new revenue sources with better skills and knowledge of marijuana and herbal tourism.
Earlier in August, the Thai Cabinet had approved a proposal to amend the Narcotics Act to allow private medical practitioners, including some traditional healers, and farmers to grow the plant for medical treatment.
This development followed the controlled legalization of marijuana in 2018, which saw Thailand become the first country in Southeast Asia to allow state agencies or those who sought permission to grow cannabis, following the regulations of government agencies.
Thai police however, had warned that marijuana use for recreational purposes is still forbidden in Thailand.
The Thai government is set to host a cannabis expo in Thailand’s North-Eastern province of Buri Ram in October 2021.