New Thai Health Minister Wants to Make Medical Marijuana More Widely Available

Thailand’s new Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul stated recently that he wants to amend the country’s medical marijuana law to make the drug more widely available for those who need it.

Specifically, Anutin plans to revise two ministerial regulations regarding medical cannabis.

First, he plans to change the law so that 3,000 folk medicinal practitioners can prescribe medical cannabis without being punished under Thailand’s Narcotics Act.

As of now, only professional medical practitioners–including certified doctors, dentists, and traditional Thai medical practitioners–can prescribe medical marijuana to ailing patients.

Although the 3,000 folk practitioners received a 5-year agreement with the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTTAM) to help patients, they are not defined legally as “professionals” under Thai laws.

To be considered as a “medical professional”, they would have to undergo a year-long process in order to gain approval from Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health.

Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration–which is in charge of licensing medical marijuana research, production, and distribution–recently declined a medical cannabis oil petition by famous folk practitioner Decha Siripat, who recently came under fire from law enforcement for treating patients for years using marijuana.

Second, Anutin has promised to have weed added to Thailand’s national essential drug list.

Essential medicines on the list are made widely available to vast swaths of the Thai population who government health benefits.

Anutin states that by having marijuana added to the list it can simultaneously be tighter regulated like other common prescription drugs but also much more of a realistic treatment option for millions of Thais seeking it.

Additionally, Anutin noted that although cannabis is not a cure-all, it should be viewed positively under the law thanks to its multitude of undeniable health benefits.

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