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Medical Cannabis Thailand: How Does Licensing Work?

Transcript of the above video:

As the title of this video suggests, we are discussing cannabis again; specifically developments with respect to the new medical cannabis, medical marijuana regime that is being brought into effect here in the Kingdom.

A recent article from Khaosod English, that is khaosodenglish.com and that article was written by Wirot Poonsuwan who is a Thai Attorney at Law and I want to note that specifically again. This is a very long article. We are going to quote very, very little from it but I wanted to make this as a follow-up because we did some videos previously on cannabis in Thailand where we were making some speculations if you will with respect to how this was going to actually play out; how it was going to operate as a practical matter. Now that more of the regulatory structure has been firmed up, we have got a better idea of how things are going to be. 

In a prior video on this channel, I was talking about this subject in the context of private companies being able to get into this business. It appears to me at least for the near term that is probably not likely and that in fact we are going to see this is going to be more in the context of medical marijuana, medical cannabis, and so really this whole notion of having these stores and things, like you would for instance see in a jurisdiction like Colorado in the United States, that paradigm doesn't so much apply to the Thai system as it is coming into view and again we are still dealing with the early stages of this. I urge those who are watching this video to read this article. There is a lot more than what we are discussing in this video. Again, Khaosod English: Weed Laws, Cannabis License and Foreigners Growing Hemp. Quoting directly:  "Acquiring a license: it is a widely-held myth to fathom that the passing of the DMS, that's the Department of Medical Services, training course will instantly certify a doctor to dole out medical marijuana. In fact, the compulsory course is merely one pre-qualification to enable the doctor to apply for a cannabis sale license from the FDA. Only upon receipt of the FDA license will the doctor qualify to dispense marijuana formulas. Once the doctor has obtained a sales license, there is no need for them to obtain the other four types of FDA cannabis licenses: manufacturing, import, export and possession."  And it notes in here: manufacturings for factories, imports for companies or government agencies, exports for companies and government agencies; possession is for researchers.  Quoting further: "Patients do not need a possession license as they will be given cannabis medication by doctors and pharmacists who received cannabis sales licenses from the FDA."  Now, I am curious as to how that is going to work as a practical matter; just to make a comment here because I would presume then that cannabis and cannabis products that are prescribed in a medical capacity would have the prescription attached to them. For example when you have prescription drugs for an ailment of any kind, there is usually a label, the prescribing doctor and directions for use. I guess I would presume that the cannabis, or the Cannabis products, would have that same kind of labeling that would show that it was issued in a valid manner. It is difficult to speculate on that as we haven't seen it yet. It is my understanding, in for example California medical marijuana regime, patients have to actually have a card that shows that they have gone through the prescription process, the diagnosis process from a doctor and are receiving treatment for medical marijuana and that card shows all that. Apparently, that is not going to be part and parcel of this system; it's simply going to be I would presume labeled on the Cannabis that is given out by the doctor or pharmacist in question. Quoting further: "Practitioners trained in DMS cannabis cannot apply for a FDA marijuana sales license yet. The holdup is a lack of implementing FDA ordinance to announce a lawful list of cannabis medicines which should be issued in a month or two."

So again, a very interesting article. Again Weed Laws, Cannabis License and Foreigners Growing Hemp. I urge those to read that article in full because it has got a lot more nuances than what I have just quoted. My analysis of this for those who are watching, I think we are going to see this rolled out fairly soon. For those who think this is going to be some great license to smoke a lot of marijuana, I am not certain that is what is going to happen here. Clearly the FDA is serious about rolling out regulations on this. Another major issue with respect to this is there is not going to be a huge number of doctors who are actually going to have this licensing. As this attorney noted in this article, there have only been a few classes for the qualification thus far. Not everyone who took the classes passed the exam and the classes filled up quite quickly and there is not in the future going to be a great number of these. So the doctors who are going to have the authority to dispense medicinal cannabis, medicinal marijuana, remain to be seen. None of them have licenses yet but I think that once the licenses are in fact issued, we are going to see a relatively small number of those folks who can actually dispense marijuana and cannabis medications.