Thailand legalizes medicinal cannabis

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Thailand approved on Tuesday a law to legalize cannabis for medicinal use and enable national production.

The measure was approved on Thursday, December 25 with a large majority in parliament and was a symbolic act for having voted on holidays.

“This is the New Year’s gift from the Legislative Assembly for the Thai government and people,” Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the drafting committee, said on a parliamentary television network.

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This is a regulation agreed by the Legislative Assembly, the Ministry of Health and the government on the therapeutic use of cannabis for the next 5 years.

This could mark the beginning of a change to the punitive policies of Asian countries, known as one of the regions with the most punitive anti-drug laws in the world.

According to the data, by personal possession, the authorities can make fines to users from 1500 to 10000 euros; or face prison sentences. Distributors can be, in the worst case, sentenced to death penalty in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Patents

The central controversy surrounding the law resulted in requests from international companies to operate under conditions in which they could monopolize the market.

The nongovernmental association BIOTHAI responded to 8 requests to patent cannabis-based medicines by foreign companies.

Their representatives recommended not to provide patents for the extraction of oils, as they could block the manufacture and stop the investigation.

“We are going to ask the government to revoke all these requests before the law takes effect,” said Panthep Puapongpan, dean of the Rangsit Institute of Integrative and Anti-Aging Medicine.

Prawit Wongsuwan, the prime minister’s representative, clarified that cannabis will be used as a priority to combat the symptoms of cancer, epilepsy, AIDS and other serious diseases. But the list of prescription will extend to less serious pathologies such as chronic pain, inflammatory diseases and others.

The government announced that the cultivation will be carried out by means of commercial licenses and the home cultivation will be penalized by law.

Photo: @Unsplash

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