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

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"This is a New Year's gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people", said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the legislative drafting committee.

Under the new law, the production, export, import, possession, and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes will be legal in Thailand, though licenses will be required on the production and distribution side, and patients will need to obtain a prescription from a licensed physician.

Thailand is first Southeast Asias country to legalize medical marijuana. While Thailand's interim parliament voted to approve weed its recreational use remains illegal in the country.

Thailand's National Legislative Assembly approved the use of medical marijuana by a vote of 166 to 0, with 13 members abstaining.

The bill highlights that recent studies have found marijuana extract to have medicinal benefits, with many countries in the world easing their law by enacting legal amendments to allow their citizens to legally use kratom and marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes.

Other parts of the world are also beginning to see medical marijuana in a different light.

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Before this pro-pot political wave, there had been little tolerance for marijuana in Southeast Asia.

Cannabis traffickers can be subject to the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

What is known is that only government-authorized people may plant or possess marijuana.

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

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) also upheld the same hard stance on the use of recreational drugs, and warned that Singaporeans and permanent residents of the Republic who are found to have engaged in the misuse of such drugs overseas will be dealt with in the same way as those who have done so in Singapore. Allowing the use of medical marijuana may win some support for military-backed parties.

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