Thailand Is Officially The First Southeast Asian Country To Legalise Medical Marijuana

Kratom (ketum) was also included in the move to legalise it for medical and research purposes.

Thailand is now the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise medical marijuana

A Thai activist with a marijuana tattoo.

Image via Panumas Sanguanwong/Reuters

Reuters reported yesterday, 25 December, that the country's military-appointed parliament voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 in an extra parliamentary session, which was made to handle a rush of bills before the New Year's holidays.

The chairman of the drafting committee Somchai Sawangkarn said, during the televised parliamentary session, "This is a New Year's gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people."

The amendment will legalise the production, import, export, possession, and use of cannabis and also kratom (ketum) products for medical purposes

The Bangkok Post explained that the law will permit the use of cannabis and ketum for government and medical benefits, the treatment of patients, research and development, agriculture, commerce, science, and industry.

Image via WebMD

Consumers will be allowed to possess specified amounts, through prescriptions or issued certificates, for treatment of illnesses. These are also subject to conditions approved by the narcotics control committee.

However, those found to illegally possess cannabis or ketum will be jailed for a period between five to 15 years and/or fined up to THB1 million (roughly RM128,330).

Thailand now joins a number of countries who have legalised marijuana use

Reuters reported that Colombia, Israel, Denmark, Britain, and certain U.S. states have decriminalised the use of marijuana for medical and research purposes.

However, Uruguay and Canada are the only two countries in the world that has legalised marijuana for recreational use, reported BBC.

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