Thailand’s New Year’s gift: Legalisation of marijuana

Glen Mclaughlin
December 28, 2018

The country has also legalised kratom, a kind of drug often used traditionally as a stimulant and painkiller.

In what its legislators are calling a "gift" to the country, Thailand has officially approved medical marijuana for usage and research.

The law specifies that this culture would be framed, and the use of cannabis limited to a medical and non-recreational use.

While many South-east Asian nations are known for having strict laws against drug use and possession, Thailand has chose to approve the use of marijuana for medical and research purposes on Tuesday (25 Dec), which marks the first instance in which the use of a recreational drug is legalised in the region.

Purveyors, producers and researchers will need licences to handle the drugs, while end-users will need prescriptions.

The main controversy surrounding marijuana in Thailand involved patent requests by foreign firms that could allow them to dominate the market, making for more hard access for Thai patients and researchers.

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Additionally, a British man told the BBC earlier this month that he faced up to 15 years in an Indonesian prison after he was arrested with cannabis oil that he used to treat chronic arthritic pain.

Malaysia, Thailand's neighboring country, is considering passing a similar state-regulated medical marijuana program while New Zealand enacted legislation which removed restrictions from the medical use of cannabis. Marijuana traffickers can face the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Thailand. There were 13 members who abstained from the vote.

Foreign firms are requesting patent and this is becoming a controversy in the country.

There are concerns surrounding the law-shift, however, with some worrying that outside investors will take advantage of the legalized market, making it tougher for Thai people to access medicine as a side-affect.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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