Thailand Approves Use of Medical Marijuana

A parliamentary committee member said the decision was "a New Year's gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people".

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

Thai farmers welcomed a new law allowing cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes Wednesday, in an Asian first that promises an economic bonanza but also fears that foreign companies could reap the rewards.

Thailand's National Legislative Assembly approved the use of medical marijuana by a vote of 166 to 0, with 13 members abstaining. The country also legalized kratom, a tropical evergreen tree belonging to the coffee family long used in traditional medicines.

While countries across the world have legalized cannabis in some form this year, taboo stigmas are still pervasive in Southeast Asia. As with most countries in the region, illicit drug trafficking can be punishable by death. The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said that the sentence should be reviewed.

As for India, under Section 20 of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cultivation, possession, use, sale/purchase, import/export, transportation and warehousing of cannabis.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Thailand. Medical users must have a prescription or a medical marijuana identification card to avoid prosecution.

Cannabis is legal for recreational use under many US jurisdictions, and was recently made available on prescription via the U.K. National Health Service.

Thailand now has to resolve issues surrounding patent requests from multinational firms that could lead to them dominating the market and make access to marijuana extracts by domestic patients and researchers tough, Reuters said.

Here's to the new year and to yet another country allowing medicinal use of marijuana!

  • Santos West