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Thailand Bets on Private Medical Marijuana to Lift Economy

  • Nation to expand crop rights to doctors, hospitals, farmers
  • New rules aim to draw medical tourists, boost local incomes
Thailand Wants to Have Its (Hash) Cake and Eat It Too
Photographer: Taylor Weidman/Bloomberg
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Thailand’s ailing economy, particularly its tourism and agriculture sectors, is poised to get a boost from new rules that ease the private cultivation and sale of medical marijuana.

The Cabinet amended the Narcotics Act on Aug. 4, pending Parliament’s approval, to allow private medical operators -- a category including some traditional medicine practitioners and farmers -- to grow and trade the crop including for both export and import. The move expands a cornerstone policy of Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, who bet that the controlled legalization of marijuana would boost the wellness, travel and agriculture sectors.