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

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

Well, it seems that our neighbouring country Thailand has beat us to that by officially becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to approve the use of cannabis for medical and research purposes.

The law was passed unanimously at the Thai National Legislative Assembly by a vote of 166-0 with 13 abstentions. However, recreational use of both of the drugs remain illegal and is subject to either imprisonment and or a hefty fine. The country also legalized kratom, a tropical evergreen tree belonging to the coffee family long used in traditional medicines.

The National Assembly, composed of deputies appointed by the ruling junta, approved Tuesday the legalization of marijuana.

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

However, recreational marijuana is still illegal in the country which is based in a region where most countries have stringent laws against the use of drugs.

Before this pro-pot political wave, there had been little tolerance for marijuana in Southeast Asia. Marijuana traffickers can face the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

The measure requires approval by Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn, according to The New York Times.

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. Medical users must have a prescription or a medical marijuana identification card to avoid prosecution.

However, this law does not apply to recreational use of the drug. Some Thai marijuana advocates wanted the government to insert protections against foreign companies receiving patents for cannabis, and allowing them to dominate the country's market.

While Thailand is now an active monarchy run by a King, the day-to-day government brass and tacks are handled by a military regime, which seized power in 2014.

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

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