Cannabis Act Change: Beginning a New Era in the Asian Region

Congratulations to the Thai government for taking the step of migrating from modern medicine to hereditary traditions. It is of course something that is out of the box and out of reach after experiencing a covid scene that threatens many human lives around the world. 

On June 9, the Thai government released all cannabis plants (low THC Hemp species) from schedule 1 to schedule 5 are in the category of traditional medicine and can be used in various uses. Thailand’s government also donates up to 1 million cannabis trees to its people. In addition, every household is allowed to grow the plant for medicinal purposes.   

MHIRA’s one-week experience witnessed before and after June 09 gave a new perception of when Thailand was the first Asian country to Legalize Hemp.

Although last year, the Malaysian government provide updates on the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, Poisons Act 1952 and the Sale of Drugs Act 1952 – where the act does not prohibit the use of products containing cannabis for medical purposes in Malaysia. However, it is still not clear among the people in this country.

More people are now realizing that the understanding of the global community toward cannabis plants has changed drastically. About more than 50 countries to date, have allowed access to cannabinoids from cannabis.

The United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) during Dec 2020 voted to remove cannabis resin from cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, a move that is increasingly influencing the global community regarding the use of cannabinoids in medicine.

MHIRA President, Johan Mohamad speaks during World Cannabis Day in Bangkok

MHIRA as a non-profit body, the experience of attending the World Cannabis Day Ceremony at the Carlton Hotel Bangkok on June 9 was a very meaningful experience. The wellness or health sector is the main pillar of the Thai government, followed by the medical sector which involves high THC content and is not within our field.  

To harmonize MHIRA’s involvement in the development of the Hemp Industry in Malaysia since 2015, MHIRA is now establishing a network of cooperation with local NGOs and the Southeast Asian region for the purpose of creating a highly cultured and knowledgeable society in this field as well as exchanging relevant knowledge in various aspects. Among MHIRA’s latest strategic partners is an organization that has doctors specializing in integrated medicine, including herbs. The purpose of this collaboration is to help develop a more holistic industry development on Hemp. MHIRA still focuses on the two main things of the association, namely the development of animal feed and the natural fibre industry. These two things are still the main focus of MHIRA in an effort to conduct a specific study plot in our research effort with the government and education institutions.  

MHIRA also has good cooperation with several local universities for the purpose of research and development of R&D. Through the research, MHIRA hopes to open up alternative options to the government to gain insights into the context of community well-being.

With the potential to reap significant economic benefits and help provide high-protein nutrients foods – is the government still putting profit first or public health resources?

While the two objectives are not necessarily mutually exclusive, it is important to understand that growing evidence suggests that health is a crucial public matter to manage in an endemic open market power that still makes it difficult to revive certain economic sectors after 2 years of inactivity.

In the face of persistent unemployment and a decline in household income, the main impetus behind the Hemp Industry policy for the country should also be considered by the government. Industrial Hemp is an economic crop that provides more opportunities and new options for income-generating to the communities.

The Thai government took a bold step by embracing the whole cannabis plant and became a pioneer because it wanted to free its people from narcotic abuse. All uses of the plant in Thailand are within the jurisdiction of the traditional medicine division under the public health ministry.

MHIRA is also honoured and welcomes the invitation from the Chairman of the Caucus, YB Syed Saddiq as a joint committee in the joint development of the Caucus and it is divided into 3 categories where the Hemp Industry division is led by the MHIRA team.

MHIRA believes that the approach of starting the Hemp Industry within a 2-month policy framework for the plant to grow is enough to put Malaysia mature in resolving the issue of rising bran prices with its natural resources not necessarily managed cleanly and organically.

In addition, MHIRA will be organizing a Hemp Education Symposium in collaboration with local Universities to be announced. There are many recent developments and this year there will be many more activities and programs including forums organized and collaborative involving MHIRA. All members who missed the opportunity for the previous online session, are invited to get accurate and clear information from the meeting with MHIRA.