Thailand legalized medical marijuana last year and it started distributing cannabis oil in state-run hospitals last week. Now the Thai authorities have announced that they will be turning over any seized illegal marijuana to the government agency making cannabis oil for distribution in government-run hospitals.
This week, the police confiscated one ton of marijuana from a criminal gang. Rather than destroy this bust, the Thai authorities have made a decision to transfer the marijuana to the Department of Traditional Alternative Medicine as well as the Department of Medical Sciences.
These two entities are authorized to process the marijuana into about 600,000 bottles of cannabis oil for distribution through the state-run medical marijuana program. 5kg from this 1,000kg batch will be retained by the Medical Sciences department for experimental purposes.
The Thai Office of Narcotics Control revealed that they had received approval to hand over the confiscated marijuana to be processed into medicinal products for use domestically. The Thai authorities seem to be sure about the purity of the seized marijuana, which could explain why they have taken this unusual step of “repurposing” it for medical use.
This month, the medical marijuana project of Thailand has been able to make 10,000 bottles of marijuana oil. Most of this consignment is already en route, or has already reached the hospitals that will be dispensing it to patients.
The first marijuana crop grown by the state flowered in May. That harvest is what the state processed into the oil it dispatched to state-run hospitals. However, this marijuana isn’t enough to meet the existing demand, and the government has turned to using confiscated marijuana as it ramps up its own production capacity.
Patients can get a prescription for medical marijuana if they suffer from chronic pain, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. People who would like to deal with the side effects of chemotherapy can also legally use medical marijuana in the country.
Anutin Chamvirakul, the Thai Health Minister, reassured those who are worried about the potential abuse of medical marijuana that no such thing will happen. He explained that since everything is being done under medical supervision, the dosage that patients are taking will not cause any addiction or drug abuse issues.
This reassurance doesn’t seem to have convinced the International Narcotics Control Board. The group stated that they were “deeply concerned” by the rate at which Thailand was changing its marijuana laws.
Marijuana industry watchers think entities like Green Growth Brands Inc. (CSE: GGB) (OTCQB: GGBXF) and Green Hygienics Holdings Inc. (OTCQB: GRYN) would find the use of confiscated marijuana in the state medical marijuana program of the Thai government bold but creative.
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