By LeeWEpstein

August 26, 2020


The Thai cabinet  approved amendments to its narcotics law to allow patients and companies to grow and sell medical cannabis, Thai government officials said.

Full legalization of medical cannabis 

With a tradition of using the cannabis flower to relieve pain and fatigue, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize cannabis in 2017 for medical and research purposes.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the proposed amendments would also allow patients, businesses, and health professionals to grow and produce, export, import, and sell this medical cannabis.

cultivate medical cannabis 

Developing the medical cannabis market in Asia

The law favors the pharmaceutical industry and will increase competitiveness, which will be important for Thailand in becoming a leader in medical cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul also told reporters.

Thailand has removed cannabis extracts from its list of narcotic drugs and opened medical cannabis clinics. However, cannabis remains a Category 5 drug under Thai law, and illegal possession is punishable by 15 years in prison and fines of up to 1.5 million baht ($48,000).

Different cannabis legislation in Asia

Amendments must go for legal review before being sent to the Thai parliament. While countries such as Colombia and Canada have legalized cannabis for medical or even recreational purposes, the plant remains illegal and taboo in much of Southeast Asia, which has some of the world’s strictest penalties for drug offenses. Cannabis traffickers can face the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia, and Malaysia.

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