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Thailand becomes first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis

Under the new law change, people incarcerated on cannabis-related charges will be released from prison.

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Thailand becomes first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis
Home » News » International » Thailand becomes first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis

Thailand has now decriminalised the cultivation and trade of cannabis, however, recreational use will remain illegal. 

The production, trading, import and export of cannabis and hemp products for medicinal use is now legal in Thailand. 

Previously, cannabis is was a category five narcotic, however, cannabis and hemp products have been allowed in the cosmetic and food industries since 2020, and the country was the first in Asia to legalise medical cannabis in 2018. It has also been legal in the country for registered companies to sell cannabis products if they contain less than 0.2 per cent of THC.

The move is a bid to increase economic productivity in the country, with the government valuing the industry in excess of USD£2bn (~£1.60bn) according to Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul. 

Read more: Thailand to propose removing cannabis from controlled substances list

Small operators will not need to register with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, large cannabis-related businesses need FDA approval to produce and market products.

The move follows the decision from the Thai Government in May to hand out one million free cannabis plants to its citizens. Citizens will now be permitted to cultivate cannabis in their own homes as long as it is medical grade and used for medical purposes only.

The country’s Office of the Judiciary has also confirmed that any ongoing criminal cases related to cannabis will be suspended, and those serving prison sentences related to cannabis charges will also be released on a case-by-case basis.

In an interview with CNN, the Minister highlighted that Thai citizens are keen to become investors and producers in the medical cannabis industry.

However, the smoking or use of cannabis in “non-productive ways” will still be prohibited, Charnvirakul has stated. 

Under Thailand’s Public Health Act, those that use cannabis for recreational purposes will still be subject to penalties such as an $800 fine for public consumption and three months in prison.

Speaking to CNN, Charnvirakul commented: “There has never once been a moment that we would think about advocating people to use cannabis in terms of recreation — or use it in a way that it could irritate others.”

Charnvirakul highlighted that the country would have no problem with tourists who wanted to visit Thailand for medical cannabis treatment, but that the country would not be open for recreational cannabis tourism.

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Whitehouse remarks on “wrongful detainment” of Griner for Russian cannabis charges

The basketball star has been sentenced to nine years for allegedly smuggling cannabis medicines into Russia.

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Whitehouse remarks on “wrongful detainment” of Griner for Russian cannabis charges
Home » News » International » Thailand becomes first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis

American basketball player, Brittney Griner, aged 31, has been sentenced to nine years in prison in Russia after she was caught in possession of cannabis.

As well as a nine-year sentence for possession of vape cartridges containing cannabis, the WNBA star and two-time US Olympic champion has also been ordered to pay a fine of ₽1m (~£13,745).

Some reports have suggested that the development could see the US and Russia negotiating over a prisoner exchange.

Read more: Billy Hood CBD appeal reduces sentence to ten years

President Joe Biden’s office released a statement on the sentencing of what it describes as the “wrongfully detained” Griner, who has been detained since February,

Biden stated: “Today, American citizen Brittney Griner received a prison sentence that is one more reminder of what the world already knew: Russia is wrongfully detaining Brittney. 

“It’s unacceptable, and I call on Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“My administration will continue to work tirelessly and pursue every possible avenue to bring Brittney and Paul Whelan home safely as soon as possible.”

Griner’s agent, Lindsay Kagawa Colas, said the star was being used as a “political pawn”.

In a press briefing by White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre and NSC co-ordinator for strategic communications John Kirby, Jean-Pierre stated: “We have repeatedly called for Russia to release her immediately so she can be with her wife, loved ones, friends, and teammates.

“Under President Biden’s direction, the US government continues to work aggressively, pursuing every avenue to bring home Brittney, Paul Whelan, and every American held hostage and wrongfully detained around the world.

“As you all know, we have made a substantial offer to bring her and Paul Whelan home.  We urge Russia to accept that proposal.

“I’m not able to share more publicly at this time, but we are willing to take every step necessary to bring home our people, as we demonstrated with Trevor Reed. And that’s what we’re going to do here. I can assure you this is something the President and our national security team are focused on every single day.”

Griner has 10 days to appeal the verdict.

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Flora Growth partners with Colombia’s largest indigenous tribe in joint cannabis venture

“We are honoured to be given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Misak people,” said Luis Merchan, Flora’s Chairman and CEO.

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Flora Growth Colombia

Flora Growth has entered an agreement with one of Colombia’s main indigenous tribes to process and distribute cannabis products.

Flora Growth has entered into a joint venture agreement with Pharma Indigena Misak Manasr Sas, the largest indigenous tribe in Colombia, on the development of cultivation best practices, manufacturing, export and marketing of cannabis and cannabis-containing products.

Under the agreement, the outdoor cultivator, manufacturer and distributor will provide Manasr regulatory advice, technical and business support related to product development and distribution, promotion of products to be marketed under the Flora brand portfolio, and cannabis derivatives to complete product production.

Additionally, Manasr will work closely with Flora in developing cannabis pharmaceuticals and products and help advance the approvals and authorisations required for exports of cannabis from Colombia.

“We are honoured to be given the opportunity to work hand-in-hand with the Misak people,” said Luis Merchan, Flora’s Chairman and CEO.

“Through this partnership, we will collaborate with the tribe on the processing and distribution of their Colombian-grown cannabis while offering Manasr a powerful platform for product distribution. In return, Flora will be able to leverage the tribe’s unique regulatory positioning to expedite exports and increase global market penetration of Colombian cannabis goods.

“We look forward to a long-standing relationship with such a powerful community partner.”

The initial term of the agreement is three years, however, the intention is to create a “lasting and mutually beneficial relationship for the foreseeable future”, the company said.

This announcement comes two weeks after Flora Growth’s CEO Luis Merchan met with Colombian Senator Gustavo Bolivar, the author of a new bill to legalise recreational cannabis.

Bolivar, the key author of the bill, and Merchan discussed the top tenants of the bill, the bill’s implications for companies such as Flora in Colombia and what legalisation means for the country’s burgeoning domestic and international cannabis markets.

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Cresco Pharma to acquire Australia’s Health House for $4.6m

The acquisition will help further Cresco’s presence in Europe and the UK.

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Cresco Pharma to acquire Australia’s Health House for $4.6m
Home » News » International » Thailand becomes first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis

Cresco Pharma is to acquire 100 per cent of Health House International (HHI) under a non-binding term sheet agreement.

Switzerland-based Medical cannabis product developer, Cresco Pharma, has said that the $4.6m (~£3.76m) acquisition of international medical cannabis distributor, Health House, will unlock a number of new markets for the company across the UK, Europe and Australia. 

The acquisition is subject to Creso completing satisfactory due diligence on Health House’s businesses.

Read more: Agreement reached for landmark Columbia Care deal

Group CEO and managing director of Cresco Pharma, William Lay, said: “The proposed acquisition of Health House has a number of potential benefits for Creso Pharma. 

“Subject to a formal Scheme  Implementation Deed being executed, implementation of the scheme would result in Creso Pharma significantly strengthening its global distribution capabilities and unlocking a number of new markets across the  UK, Europe and Australia. 

“The company intends to undertake due diligence on Health House’s operations immediately and explore the potential to leverage the group’s existing relationships for Creso Pharma’s own product ranges.

“Further, the company will investigate other potential opportunities including HHI’s existing EU-GMP product manufacturing capabilities and how these can further benefit Mernova, SSH and  Creso Switzerland as we push to establish a presence in Europe and the UK.

“We look forward to progressing work towards implementation of the Scheme and will provide ongoing updates as due diligence requirements are met and additional opportunities materialise.”  

The news follows the failed merger between Health House and Zelira Therapeutics Limited. The proposed acquisition was terminated due to a “substantial change in market conditions since the scheme was originally announced”. 

Health House currently has supply agreements in place with several pharmaceutical grade GMP-certified manufacturers and producers of medicinal cannabis products, and also owns a medicinal cannabis consultancy in the EU.

The company is currently supporting a non-interventional study in Germany, launched by another Health House group company, that considers the effect on quality of life of patients and the safety and tolerability of cannabis medication.

Recently, Health House announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary CanPharma GmbH has continued its strategy to enter into preferred supplier agreements with German statutory health insurance (SHI) funds, securing agreements with five funds to date. 

CanPharma’s latest agreement with Techniker Krankenkasse, the largest German statutory health insurance fund represents more than 10 million insured individuals, bringing the total number of patients that SHI funds cover, with preferred supplier agreements with CanPharma, to over 35 million, representing almost 50 per cent of the total number of insured Germans. 

Creso Pharma has stated that the proposed acquisition of Health House would create a global organisation with strong medicinal cannabis production and distribution capabilities, as well as a growing revenue profile. However, it emphasises that, until due diligence is completed and a binding Scheme Implementation Deed is executed by the parties, there is no certainty that the acquisition of Health House will proceed.

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