Over 2 metric tons of weed should be ready by February now that a Chiang Mai university has become the first in Southeast Asia to cultivate industrial-grade cannabis.

Like a proud father, a politician who rode a pro-cannabis platform into power earlier this year, Anutin Charnwirakul, was on hand to see the first medical marijuana seedlings planted at Maejo University in the northern province’s San Sai District.

Twelve-thousand cannabis sprouts have been planted at the university’s 3,040sqm facility. It expects 2.4 tons of dried weed to result from the first such batch to be grown legally on an industrial scale.

Anutin, now the health minister, said the cannabis would be delivered to the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, which oversees the legalization campaign and distributed through its network, Anutin.

The strain being grown is called Issara 01. To ensure it is of medical-grade quality, officials said it will be strictly grown under international organic standards set by the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements and the US Department of Agriculture.

medical-grade marijuana Thailand
medical-grade marijuana Thailand

The government hopes this batch will help to support the high demand for medical-grade marijuana. Attorney and researcher Wirot Poonsuwan told Coconuts Bangkok recently that supply shortages are one of the hurdles to widespread availability. That means only registered patients with severe conditions such as last-stage cancer, Parkinson’s or drug-resistant epilepsy are the first in line to receive cannabis treatments.