Weed Needs? Thai FDA to launch medical marijuana hotline tomorrow

Got a burning question about medical weed? You can now call the Thai government for answers.

Starting tomorrow, the Thai Food and Drug administration (FDA), an agency under the Ministry of Public Health, is launching a medical marijuana hotline that aims to answer all your questions about weed in order to help the kingdom transition into this historic legalization.

Getting answers will be as simple as dialing 1556-3 on weekdays between 8:30am and 4:30pm.

For any of you who have been hiding under a rock, Thailand became the very first nation in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana in a unanimous 166-0 vote at the Parliament on Christmas Day.

The FDA has previously revealed six of the seven official types of applicants qualified to apply for a medical marijuana license from the administration.

According to the FDA’s website, these include:

  1. State-run research agencies
  2. Modern and traditional medical practitioners including pharmacies, dentists and traditional Thai doctors
  3. Universities or privately run education institutes that teaches or does research about medicine
  4. Farmers that are legally registered  
  5. International transport operators like cruises lines and airlines who will be allowed to use medical weed to treat passengers with certain illnesses
  6. Ailing international travelers

The seventh category has been left blank so far and will be filled in later by the Ministry of Public Health.

Note that while wholly foreign-owned entities and businesses are unable to apply for a license, foreign individuals will be obtain a license to purchase and use medical marijuana.

Companies legally registered in Thailand with at least two-thirds Thai ownership can request a permission to import, export and possess medical marijuana from the FDA, per a recent Khaosod interview with a lawyer versed on the subject.

Speaking to Coconuts Bangkok in a phone interview, Arun Avery — a contributor to Highland, a magazine dedicated to Thailand’s cannabis-culture — expressed his concern about prescriptions being out of reach for many groups of patients, especially those with lower incomes who already had trouble accessing medication in general.

“And at least at first first, I’m sure most doctors with knowledge about weed and can legally prescribe it will be located in Bangkok and major cities,” said Arun, who added that he fears this will further contribute to the healthcare provision gap in the kingdom.

However, he is still happy about the legalization and hopes this will help normalize the herb in the eyes of mainstream society.

“One day, it may be regarded in the same way society regards alcohol or morphine,” he said.

Last year, Coconuts TV produced a docu-series – now available exclusively on Netflix – called “HIGHLAND: Thailand’s Marijuana Awakening” on the subject. that explores how the marijuana legalization movement got started in Thailand.

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