Thailand giving away 1 million free cannabis plants despite drug being illegal

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Stoners in Thailand could be 'lighting up' with joy soon after the government announced they would be handing out one million free cannabis plants.

Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul made the surprising announcement via a Facebook post on Sunday (May 8), saying he wanted cannabis be grown like a "household crop."

No prior permission will be required for farmers to grow the plant, which is being encouraged for medicinal purposes and the international export market, from June 9, 2022.

Praising medical benefits of the drug, the minister said it was "inscribed in history that Thailand is a nation that uses marijuana understandably.”

Charnvirakul also suggested that it could be used to "flavour chicken curry instead of powder". But he warned against recreational use of cannabis, suggesting that it "can be treated like any other medicinal plant, but it requires an appropriate control process".

The move to give away the plants comes despite weed remaining illegal for personal use in the south-east Asian nation, which has notoriously harsh drug laws.

Punishment for use of the substance without a prescription can range from a fine of up to 10,000 Baht (£235) or 10 years in prison.

Kitty Chopaka, a cannabis entrepreneur from Bangkok, said the law would now allow citizens to use cannabis in medicinal teas or soups — but not in a joint.

She told CNN: "It will still be considered criminal if you don't have a legal prescription and you have to be a patient of some form of ailment for this to work. Only then will you be able to grow cannabis at home and use it however you like."

"Smoking weed will happen, and there's no way the [government] can stop that."

It comes as restrictions on cannabis are relaxed around the world, with several countries in Europe and some states in the US allowing people to smoke it without facing any trouble from the law.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan even jetted off to visit a drug farm in Los Angeles today (Thursday, May 12) to investigate the effects of making weed legal in the UK.

  • Cannabis

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