Thailand Makes Official The Use Of Marijuana For Medical Purposes

The legislature in Thailand has officially declared allowing the legal medical use of marijuana, thus paving the way for it to become a potential leader in the Asian continent in the path of legalizing what used to be considered a dangerous drug.

The National Legislative Assembly on Friday had submitted planned amendments to the Health Ministry, which would put marijuana and the plant kratom, which is locally popular as a stimulant and painkiller, into a category that makes their licensed possession and distribution legal under regulated conditions.

The Health Ministry is expected to review the amendments before they are forwarded to the Cabinet, who will return it to the legislature for a version, which will be then voted upon. This process is expected to be completed before year-end. process may be completed before the end of the year.

The proposed changes would not allow for the recreational use of the drugs. The action was taken because of developing interest in the use of marijuana and its parts in treating certain medical conditions. Public hearings have shown large support for these measures.

Somchai Sawangkarn, a lawmaker who proposed the amendments, said, "If we let it be used recreationally, our society is not ready yet, so I want to do this first step first — the issue of making medicine. From allowing the making of medicine, maybe in six months or a year's time, if society is ready, it could become a food supplement. ... And eventually that could lead us to its recreational use."

The legislature is of the opinion that recent studies have shown marijuana extract has medicinal benefits, which has led to "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." It added that despite being classified as an illegal drug, many patients have used marijuana as a treatment for their chronic disease.

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