Thailand Has Legalised Cannabis For Medical Use - But There's No Free Reign
Thailand is distributing medical cannabis to patients nationwide
Cannabis is becoming widely accepted around the globe, with several nations legalising the drug due to the increasing awareness around the plant.
- In 2013, Uruguay became the first country to fully legalize marijuana.
- Canada followed last year with their own recreational cannabis law.
- Similarly, 11 states in the United States of America have legalised recreational cannabis, while 33 allow the drug for medical use.
- In 2020, New Zealanders will vote on whether they want to legalize cannabis. The draft law under this referendum would allow people over the age of 20 to buy and possess the drug.
Countries that support cannabis legalization
Nations where residents are in favor of cannabis legalization
Thailand have now joined the cannabis wave with a medical cannabis law.
Thailand legalizes medical cannabis
Last year, Thailand legalized the use of kratom and cannabis plants for medicinal purposes. However, these plants remain categorized as Schedule 5 drugs, and so possessing a significantly large amount, as well as trafficking them will still lead to a death sentence countrywide, and in the surrounding nations.
The Thai government passed the bill for medical cannabis legalization in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) through a junta-appointed parliamentary vote of 166-0 with 13 absences. The drug was legalized on Christmas day for both medicinal use and research purposes.
This new law increases members of the National Narcotics Control Committee from 17 to 25.The changes came into effect after the Royal Thai Government Gazette published them -- the Royal Thai Government Gazette may take up to four months for the process.
Public hearings demonstrated huge support for kratom and cannabis legislation. The legislation amends the Narcotic Act of 1979 by organizing an extra-parliamentary session that deals with multiple measures before the end of the year.
Prior to this, cannabis was used as traditional medicine in Thailand. It was sold in apothecaries for pain relief and fatigue treatment until its prohibition in the year 1930.
Kratom, which is also known as mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical evergreen tree that belongs to the coffee family. This plant is indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and Myanmar. Kratom has been used in traditional medicines since around the nineteenth century in a variety of medical applications due to its effectiveness.
Though medical cannabis is legal, recreational use is punishable by death
As stated, medical cannabis legalization has gained overwhelming support throughout Thailand. However, using the drug for recreational purposes is still illegal. In fact, this is true across much of South East Asia, where you can find the harshest punishments for violating drug laws outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
As in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, trafficking narcotics in Thailand can be subject to the death penalty. Cannabis traffickers are punishable by the death sentence in Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, as well. However, bordering country Malaysia is presently contemplating laws for medical cannabis legalization.
The first batch of medical marijuana delivered in Thailand
In August 2019, Thailand released plans to distribute approximately 10,000 bottles of cannabis oil for hospital patients. The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) delivered 4,500 5ml bottles of cannabis oil to be distributed to hospitals on August 7, for nearly 4,000 registered patients. The rest of the 5,500 bottles will be gradually distributed after some time.
Thailand has been traditionally using cannabis for pain relief and fatigue. The oil will be used to treat patients dealing with nausea resulting chemotherapy, as well as epilepsy and aches and pains. This will also benefit patients with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and those in palliative care. Thailand’s legalisation move is also made to boost agricultural revenue.
Thailand recently approved a bill to legalize medical cannabis use nationwide, and started distributing cannabis oil to patients in hospitals the following year. This is significant news for the region, where drug possession is generally frowned upon by the government, and is punishable by death. Despite the medical cannabis law, cannabis remains illegal for recreational use. But any legal marijuana news in Thailand is certainly worth noting.