Thailand has become the first Asian nation to decriminalise the use of cannabis for research and scientific purposes, meaning people will be able to grow it at home.

Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul said the Narcotics Control Board had agreed to exclude cannabis from the Food and Drug Administration’s list of controlled drugs.

Anutin Charnvirakul

The move needs to be formally signed by Charnvirakul and becomes effective 120 days after publication in the Royal Gazette. 

Under the new rules, people will be able to grow plants at home after notifying their local government, but will need a licence to grow commercially.

Food and Drug Administration boss Paisal Dankhum has previously said homegrown cannabis should be used for medicinal purposes, and that there would be random inspections.

It is unclear if cannabis possession will still be an arrestable offence, but a draft Cannabis Act will be presented to parliament this week to clarify the plant’s legal status including its production, and commercial and recreational use.

In 2020, Thailand became the first Asian nation to decriminalise the production and use of medicinal cannabis.

UPDATE (February 9, 2022): Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul has now signed the measure.

At a signing ceremony, he said he hoped to set out a “new history for cannabis” in Thailand and remove the stigma around it.

“Cannabis actually has plenty of medical benefits, not different from other herbs, and we are trying our best to make the Thai people enjoy both medical and economic benefits from it,” he added.

Prior to launching Cannabiz, Martin was co-founder and CEO of Asia-Pac’s leading B2B media and marketing information brand Mumbrella, overseeing its sale to Diversified Communications in 2017. A journalist...