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About 1,000 people have set out on a 166-mile, 20-day march in Thailand this week, in an effort to support cannabis reform in the Southeast Asian country.
According to concurrent reports from The Bangkok Post and The Thaiger, the Cannabis Walk Thailand began last week, and will continue until June 9th. Led by longtime Thai cannabis activist Daycha Siripatra, the marchers are seeking expanded access to the country’s nascent medical marijuana program, both for patients and potential business owners.
"The amended version of the Narcotics Act is good, but not good enough to allow the public to reap the full benefit of cannabis," Daycha told the Bangkok Post on May 9th.
The Thai government recently convened a medical marijuana amnesty application process, in which cannabis users could apply for approval from the local FDA and Red Cross to use the plant. Residents had to describe an ailment that they were using cannabis to treat and disclose how much marijuana they had in their possession. During the 90 day application process, the medical marijuana amnesty website received more than 30,000 completed requests.
"Many made queries about the amnesty process, as well as whether their conditions could be treated with cannabis-based cures or not," Professor Thiravat Hemachudah, the head of the Thai Red Cross Emerging Infectious Disease Health Science Centre, told the Post. "Many of them are real patients and showed genuine interest in seeking an alternative treatment.”
But with only two local farms licensed to produce cannabis — all at less than 1% THC — and no regulatory program to process or dispense the product, Daycha and other local activists are not satisfied. As a result, they’re now making their demands clear across the country.
The organization spearheading the march, the Khaokwan Foundation, has faced legal trouble in the past for disseminating cannabis oils to Thai residents, and Daycha, the foundation’s leader, says that the group will continue to distribute medical marijuana, whether the law is expanded or not.
“If we don't start fighting for full legalisation to decriminalise marijuana,” Daycha told the Post, “the public won't have any real access nor receive benefits from medical marijuana."
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