Thailand recently legalized growing cannabis at home. The Thai government is celebrating by giving away one million free cannabis plants to households across the country.
CNN reported the giveaway was announced on Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnivirakul’s Facebook page earlier this month. He would like cannabis plants to be grown like other “household crops.”
Charnivirakul led the country’s initiative to decriminalize cannabis. Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical cannabis use in 2018.
In February of this year, Charnivirakul signed a measure dropping cannabis from the country’s list of controlled substances.
The new rule will go into effect on June 9, allowing possession and use of all parts of the cannabis plant. Cannabis extracts will remain illegal unless they contain less than .2% tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
The percentage cap is similar to the United States’ .3% cap on the THC content of hemp or CBD products.
A post from May 6 on Charnivirakul’s Facebook page requested local health districts cooperate with government agencies in helping educate Thai people about the plant, its health benefits, and its economic potential.
Thailand is promoting cannabis as a cash crop. The country already employs about a third of its population in agriculture, according to the World Bank.
In-home cultivation is only legal for medical cannabis patients who have notified their local government. Plants must be medical grade and cannot be used for commercial purposes without additional licensing.
The Food and Drug Administration received 4,700 applications by April for licenses to import, possess, grow, and produce cannabis and hemp, according to the Bangkok Post.
The Bhumjai Thai Party, of which Charnivirakul is a part, campaigned in the 2019 general election for cannabis legalization. The Party noted cannabis cultivation would benefit Thai farmers.
“This will enable people and the government to generate more than 10 billion baht per year in revenue from marijuana and hemp,” Charnivirakul said in a Facebook post.