Marijuana Taboos Crumbling as Legalization Slowly Pushes Forward Across Asia

Asian countries have long been known for their draconian drugs laws that sometimes see traffickers given the death penalty and users given unusually long prison sentences–even when it comes to marijuana charges.

Now, both laws and the stigma against weed is slowly but surely starting to change for the positive across the Asian landscape, as people begin to warm to the idea of cannabis use both recreationally and medically and governments eye hefty revenues from taxes on cannabis.

Most notably, Thailand has led the charge of marijuana acceptance in Asia by amending its ultra-strict Narcotics Control Act (1979) in a move that legalized medical cannabis nationwide.

Not only that, Bhumjaithai, a political party aiming to fully legalized medical marijuana in the Southeast Asian nation, received the fifth-most votes in the country’s first parliamentary elections since a 2014 military coup.

Cannabis acceptance is taking place in other parts of Asia, as well.

Late last year, Korea–another country with extremely harsh drug laws–also passed a law allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat certain diseases.

Also last year, Asian internet users went into a frenzy after a Malaysian man was sentenced to death for selling cannabis oils to suffering medical patients.

The outcry was so strong that the Prime Minister of Malaysia himself stated that they would reconsider the sentence.

Even though these are small steps, they are the same small steps Canada and US states like California, Washington, and Colorado took during the path to legalizing pot for recreational use.

It is estimated that 85.5 million of Asia’s 4.5 billion population are active marijuana users.

According to Prohibition Partners, a nongovernmental organization, the Asian cannabis market will be worth over $8.5 billion by 2024.

Read the full story here.

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