Thailand approves medical cannabis as 'New Years gift'

Thailand approves medical cannabis as 'New Years gift'

The resolution was adopted by a 166-0 vote, with 13 members abstaining. The country has also legalised kratom, a kind of drug often used traditionally as a stimulant and painkiller.

In an apparent response to news of Thailand's impending medical marijuana vote, Singapore's government issued a stern warning earlier this year that it would duly punish any citizen or permanent resident found to have consumed marijuana overseas.

Malaysia is also exploring the possibility of legalizing medical marijuana.

On Tuesday, Thailand legalised the use of marijuana for medical and research objective in the country.

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.

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Purveyors, producers and researchers will need licences to handle the drugs, while end-users will need prescriptions. But in Southeast Asia, will Thailand's decision result in a review of how other countries in the region broach the topic? Marijuana has always been considered a traditional herb in Thailand, before being classified as narcotic in the 1970s.

Lawmakers confirmed that marijuana for recreational use remains illegal.

As recently as August, the New York Times reported that a man who sold cannabis oil to patients was sentenced to death by hanging. According to Reuters News Agency, the main controversy over the legislation involves patent requests by foreign firms.

Cannabis was classified as a traditional herb in Thailand until it was criminalized in the 1930s under the Cannabis Act, B.E. 2477 while the country was still known as Siam.

The bill introducing the legislative changes had noted that recent studies have shown that cannabis extract has medicinal benefits, which has prompted "many countries around the world to ease their laws by enacting legal amendments to allow their citizens to legally use kratom and marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes".

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