Those looking to bring their stashes into the light of legal compliance under a government weed amnesty program have only one week left to do so.
The Food and Drug Administration is reminding the public they have until May 21 to register their medical marijuana in exchange for immunity from prosecution – whether they’re growing or using it.
So far, more than 8,500 patients have registered their stashes, according to FDA secretary-general Tares Krassanairawiwong.
The original deadline of Sunday was extended to Tuesday, he said.
The 90-day amnesty program was announced in late February to enable growers and users – Thai and foreign alike – to legally register their ganja. Successful applicants will get a certificate declaring their cannabis is legal.
How to Register
First and foremost – even before going to the FDA – the applicant must visit a doctor who can provide them with a medical certificate of their eligible ailment. The doctor is required to sign the medical certificate along with identifying their medical license number.
After which, applicants need to bring their weed to the FDA’s Bangkok or provincial offices with a completed application.
The amnesty only allows them to retain an amount reasonable for ongoing treatment – so don’t roll up with a wheelbarrow full of bud.
The FDA has revealed the conditions and diseases for which medical cannabis can be prescribed. They include Parkinson’s, epilepsy, nausea caused by chemotherapy, and — wait for it — stress.
Yep. Stress. We’re already feeling less stressful just thinking about it.
The organization is classifying the conditions into three groups.
The first group consists of symptoms of diseases that have been scientifically proven to be treated by cannabis including epilepsy, chronic pain and cancer — namely during chemotherapy, when patients can experience nausea.
Next up are the conditions that weed may help such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, as well as terminally ill patients. The last group consists of more experimental treatments such as cancer.
Though the last two groups may have some flexibility, they still must be under the care of certified or licensed medical professionals.
Other eligible illnesses include post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD; Crohn’s disease, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, glaucoma, and morphine addiction.
Where Things Stand
At the end of April, 200 medical professionals attended a two-day program hosted by the Medical Services Ministry which ends with an exam, administered by the Ministry of Health, to earn a license to prescribe cannabis to patients.
Last Friday, 175 of those doctors had passed the exam and became the first batch of professionals certified to prescribe medical marijuana. Check out the list of doctors and where they work here.
Decha Siriphat, director of Khao Kwan Foundation, who was, last month, busted for operating a small-scale weed empire out of his agricultural research center northwest of Bangkok, was among them.
Now that medical marijuana is legal in the kingdom and entrepreneurs are licking their lips at its prospects, it’s clear there will be a growing demand for skilled ganja professionals: those who know how to grow, create new strains and develop it for medical purposes.
Enter Rangsit University, which last week announced the country’s first undergraduate marijuana studies program.
“The world has advanced greatly in marijuana research, especially medical marijuana. But in Thailand, we don’t have skilled workers that know much about cannabis … We will be the pioneers of marijuana education programs in Thailand” said Banyat Saitthiti, dean of the Agricultural Innovation Faculty, where the program will be offered.
The new concentration will allow juniors in the four-year Agricultural Innovation program to specialize in cannabis. Interested applicants can now apply.
Still not burning questions about weed? You can now call for answers.
In late February, the FDA launched a medical marijuana hotline to answer questions about weed in order to help the kingdom with its historic transition to legalization.
Getting answers about weed has become simple as dialing 1556-3 between 8:30am and 4:30pm on weekdays.