Legal Medical Marijuana Closer to Reality in Thailand After Government Approves Pivotal Legislation

Last month, Thailand’s cabinet gave the green light to drafted legislation that would finally allow the government to research the effects of medical marijuana use, according to the Bangkok Post.

Although the move brings legalized medical marijuana much closer to reality in the Southeast Asian nation, the legislation will still have to make its way past the National Legislative Assembly.

In preparation for the change, the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, a branch of the Ministry of Public Health, plans to grow medical marijuana on the rooftop of their compound in Rama VI–under strict supervision and security, of course.

The research will experiment with hybrid development of strains as well as the extraction of substances from the plants for human testing. The Public Health Minister will exercise full control over the production, import, export, and possession of the drug for research purposes.

The change signals a sea-change for the Thai government, considering the fact that weed is still categorized as a Class 5 illegal drug under the 1979 Narcotic Drugs Act, and comes with stiff penalties for distribution, production, possession, and consumption.

In recent years, research into the use of medical marijuana to treat physical ailments and mental illness has become commonplace in many countries. And most that have opened the drug up to testing, have shown it to be an effective pain treatment and nausea remedy for chemotherapy patients.

This has led numerous countries to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes–including Canada, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, as well as 29 states in America. With this latest development, Thailand may soon be following suit in liberalizing its stance on the plant.

But as of now, Thai law still dictates up to a 5-year prison term and/or a THB 100,000 fine for those caught in possession of weed. Foreigners caught with cannabis can also faced being blacklisted and banned from entering the country.

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