Thailand and India share a similar story.
Both are countries where cannabis has historically been used as a source of medicine to treat primary and secondary illnesses, including chronic ones. Both the countries decided to outlaw cannabis after acceding to international drug laws which clubbed cannabis with harder drugs like cocaine and heroin. While Thailand buckled in the 1960s, India managed to hold on till 1985, before enacting the NDPS Act.
However, here’s where the similarities end.
While the war on drugs has been a failure, especially since Thailand has been flooded with meth and heroin, Thailand has been pro-actively albeit, slowly and steadily been accepting cannabis back into the mainstream by going back to their roots and asking modern Thais to acknowledge and use medical cannabis. Their aim is to build a medical cannabis industry and develop scientifically backed medicines using cannabis.
- On 6th January, 2020, Thailand’s health ministry opened two health clinics to provide medical cannabis oil to ailing patients suffering from cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s
- The Country plans to open a total of 77 medical cannabis clinics, one in each of its districts
Thailand Health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, said he hoped medical cannabis would soon be added to the National List of Essential Medicine. He heads the Bhumjai Thai Party which is a part of the current coalition government that is in power in Thailand. His party was able to win 50 seats in the 2019 general election after campaigning for the legalization of cannabis production to boost agricultural and farm incomes. Today, each household in Thailand is allowed to grow up to six cannabis plants, though it isn’t sure how this figure can be monitored.
It is widely expected that cannabis would be legalized in India for medicinal and industrial purposes first. It remains to be seen if Indian states, like Madhya Pradesh and Manipur who had expressed interest in 2019 would move ahead with their respective state legislations since cannabis, like alcohol is a state subject in India.