Thailand relaxes ban on cannabis

People in Thailand can now legally grow and sell cannabis -- though they're still not meant to use it for recreational purposes. The government is encouraging people to cultivate the plant and has started handing out one million seedlings.

Health officials launched the campaign on Friday in the northeastern province of Buriram.
The decriminalization of cannabis the day before lets people grow plants at home, mainly for medical use.

The government hopes the move will lift Thailand's status as a medical and tourism hub as well as boost the agriculture industry, which employs a third of the labor force.
More than 300,000 people have already applied to the government for permission to grow the crop.

One cannabis shop had many customers on Friday afternoon.

Arun Avery, owner of Highland Cafe, said, "People came throughout the day yesterday, but we had to stop selling because we had no time to stock the product."

The government is promoting cannabis consumption for medical use, cooking and cosmetics. Plant extracts sold must contain less than 0.2% of THC -- the psychoactive ingredient. Smoking in public is still banned.