Friday, 22 March, 2019

Thailand to Legalize Medical Marijuana as New Year's 'Gift' to Citizens

Thailand's parliament has voted to approve cannabis for medical use with a key lawmaker calling it a Thailand legalizes medicinal marijuana in New Year's 'gift'
Johnnie Parks | 28 December, 2018, 23:55

There were no votes objecting the motion, while 13 members abstained.

Recreational marijuana continues to be illegal in Thailand, and possession of 10 kilograms or less of the drug is punishable by five years in prison.

On Tuesday, Thailand legalised the use of marijuana for medical and research objective in the country.

Besides cannabis, kratom or known as ketum in Malaysia has also been given the green light for medical usage.

The British government has since approved medical marijuana earlier this year, and it became available on 1 November from the National Health System to patients with a prescription. Those caught trafficking marijuana in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia can be subject to the death penalty. Lukman's case acted as a catalyst for the reassessment of medicinal cannabis legal in the country.

Thailand legalizes medicinal marijuana in New Year's 'gift'

Thailand is the first country to take such action in Southeast Asia, a region with some of the world's strictest drug laws. Incidentally, cannabis and kratom are locally grown plants, which are traditionally used as a painkiller and a stimulant.

In a televised parliamentary session, Somchai Sawangkarn, chairperson of the drafting committee, was reportedly quoted stating that this is indeed a New Year's gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and to the people of Thailand. Allowing the use of medical marijuana may win some support for military-backed parties.

"This is the first baby step forward", said Chokwan Chopaka, an activist with Highland Network, a cannabis legalisation advocacy group in Thailand. On Dec. 25, legislators voted to amend narcotics laws introduced in the 1970s by the country's junta-appointed parliament.

Other parts of the world are also beginning to see medical marijuana in a different light. Despite being termed as an illegal drug, many patients have used cannabis to treat their diseases.

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