Vang Vieng, Lao PDR

Thailand to Launch Southeast Asia’s First Medical Marijuana Tour

Thailand’s Tourism and Sports and Public Health ministries are ready to launch the first medical marijuana tour in Southeast Asia next year as they finalized a draft programme for plantations across Thailand.

The goal of the tour is to increase awareness of marijuana for medical purposes and inform those who are interested in growing the plant of the laws, said Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn, the tourism and sports minister.

The Bangkok Post reports, 8 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.

“In the early stages, the programme aims to educate locals who would like to form a community enterprise and bid to become authorised cannabis growers. This programme will pave the way for a basic understanding of marijuana and its economic benefits,” said Mr Phiphat.

He said the Tourism Department was assigned to work with the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department in promoting medical tourism, including herbs and marijuana for traditional medicine.

Developing and promoting marijuana tours

Under a memorandum of understanding signed by the two departments, they want to stimulate the Thai and foreign markets by developing and promoting these tour routes.

This cooperation should help locals create new revenue sources with better skills and knowledge of marijuana and herbal tourism, said Mr Phiphat.

The cabinet on Aug 4 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.

However, marijuana use for recreational purposes is still forbidden in Thailand as the government limits it for medicinal practices. Mr Phiphat said the government is set to host a cannabis expo in Buri Ram next October, after the first edition was held in 2019.

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