Thai Authorities Hand Over 24 Tons of Seized Cannabis to Researchers
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Just over 24 tons of illicitly produced cannabis has been donated to 11 medical institutions and research facilities by Thailand authorities, according to the Bangkok Post.
On Saturday June 6, Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary general of the country’s Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said that about half a ton (500 kilograms) of cannabis has already been given to the Drug and Herbal Product Research and Development Center, College of Pharmacy, at Rangsit University.
The Rangsit University launched its Medical Marijauna Research Center last April. With a capacity for around 50 cannabis plants, the center is licensed to cultivate marijuana for medicinal research.
According to the Bangkok Post, Mr Niyom said that the ONCB has a policy to support the research and development of cannabis oil for medical purposes. Distributing seized cannabis, he says, is part of that policy.
Another batch of seized cannabis weighing around 220 pounds (100 kilograms) has been handed over to Thailand’s Bureau of Drugs and Narcotics at the Department of Medical Science.
Prior to the handovers, the cannabis had reportedly been tested for contaminants, such as pesticides and fungi species.
If any Thai agencies are interested in using the seized cannabis, they can reportedly make a formal proposal to the country's Food and Drugs Administration or Mr Niyom’s office.
Cannabis in Thailand
Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament approved medical cannabis use in December 2018.
Less than a year later, law makers removed low-potency cannabis and hemp extracts from the country’s narcotics list.
And in early January of this year, Thailand opened its first full-time clinic specializing in traditional and alternative cannabis-based medicine.
Concerned that large multi-national corporations might try to monopolize the Thai medical cannabis market, the government has limited all cannabis production, cultivation, and sales exclusively to licensed Thai producers until 2024.
Authorities say this exclusivity will help the domestic industry to compete with large international cannabis firms once the medical market opens up.