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Thailand becomes first Asian country to legalize marijuana use

Thailand on Thursday became the first Asian country to legalize the cultivation of marijuana and its use in food and drink, in a bid to boost its agriculture and tourism sectors, but smoking weed is still banned. by the law.

“After COVID the economy is crashing, we really need it,” said Chokwan Kitty Chopaka, owner of a store selling cannabis gummies.

Shoppers lined up at outlets selling cannabis-infused drinks, candy and other cannabis-infused items as plant advocates hailed reform in a country that has long had a reputation for tough drug laws strict.

Thailand, which has a tradition of using cannabis to relieve pain and fatigue, legalized medical marijuana in 2018.

The government, betting on the plant as a cash crop, plans to donate one million plants to encourage farmers to start growing it. But authorities aim to avoid an explosion in recreational use by limiting the strength of cannabis products that are legal.

Possession and sale of cannabis extracts containing more than 0.2% of its psychoactive ingredient, tetrahydrocannabinol, is not permitted, which will exclude smokers of the drug known as “pot”, “weed” and a host of other names, to get “high”.

Cannabis growers must register on a government app called PlookGanja or grow ganja, another nickname for the prickly-leaved plant. Nearly 100,000 people have registered on the app, health ministry official Paisan Dankhum said.

Those who break the law can still face jail time and fines.

[with inputs from agencies]

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