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Thailand pushes to legalize cannabis for medical purposes

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Thailand pushes to legalize cannabis for medical purposes

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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The first country in Asia to legalize medical cannabis could be Thailand, according to recent reports.

A news article by Yahoo! revealed how a draft bill is on its way to the Thai military junta’s National Legislative Assembly to legalize cannabis consumption for medical purposes.

“We have submitted the bill to the speaker,” said Jet Sirathraanon – chairman of NLA’s standing committee of public health. Sirathraanon made a point of stating that the plant would be legalized  “for medication only, not for recreation.”

He stated that the first reading of the bill will commence in under a month. At the current time, cannabis in Thailand is illegal and anyone who disobeys the law will be struck with pretty rough penalties. In fact, many foreigners who have descended on the palm tree-fringed Thai islands have wound up in a Thai prison after being caught in possession of something as small as a joint.

By pursuing legalization, Thailand can follow in the footsteps of the United States, Canada, Australia, and Israel, all of which are reaping the economic benefits of legal weed.

Money-making potential is alluring for Thailand’s economy

The economy in Thailand is likely to strengthen if cannabis becomes legal for medical purposes. Sirathraanon has considered the lucrative aspect of legalization, in addition to the widespread advantages it offers for in-need patients.

According to the chairman, this opportunity is worth grabbing because Thailand boasts “the best marijuana in the world.”

He is not the only one who thinks so. Agreeing with him was Jim Plamondon, who is the vice-president of marketing at the Thai Cannabis Corporation.

“Today, Thailand can produce awesome cannabis at a fraction of the cost of Western growers,” Plamondon said. “Any company that is serious about cannabis should start moving its supply chain to Thailand.”

On October 17, Canada experienced its first official day of cannabis legalization, when the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) went into effect. The country has encountered supply issues as a result of a major demand for cannabis – an indication that the world is progressively embracing cannabis reform. Thailand is monitoring these markets closely to ascertain what its next move should be.

Cannabis in Thailand: Southeast Asian country used to be a major global exporter

Valued in the range of $10 billion dollars, the legal cannabis market is an appealing investment. If history is anything to go by, Thailand could seriously reap the rewards. Back in the 1980s, the Southeast Asian country was one of the world’s top exporters of the plant.

With numerous countries starting to embrace cannabis’ medical qualities, it’s the perfect time for the Government Pharmaceutical Organization to act on behalf of the Ministry of Public Health in encouraging the military government to permit studies on the drug for medical purposes.

“The best strains of cannabis in the world 20 years ago were from Thailand, and now Canada has developed this strain until up to this day, we can’t claim that ours is the best in the world anymore,” said GPO’S executive managing director, Dr. Nopporn Cheanklin. “That’s why we must develop our strain to be able to compete with theirs.”

Even though Thailand wants to gain approval to test the medical efficacy of cannabis on human study subjects, this is not to say that the Southeast Asian country wants to relax its drug trafficking law. Under the wishes of the Thai government, anyone caught trafficking cannabis in Thailand will still be subjected to harsh penalties.

For example, the police recently confiscated up to 1,380 kilograms (3,042 pounds) of cannabis and claimed there was a surge in the number of cases involving cannabis. What’s more, they claimed that there has been a recent surge in cannabis, ketamine, amphetamine pills and “ice” or crystal methamphetamine.

Back in June, the government obliterated in excess of six tons of narcotics valued at 13 billion Thai baht ($390 million). That amount was accumulated from 7,245 individual drug trafficking cases, bulking up the 120-ton pile of narcotics that the Kingdom of Thailand has detected since 1977.

Despite the fact that Thailand is leaning towards cannabis legalization, the plant is still deemed to be illegal by the Thai government. Meanwhile, in spite of legalization considerations, anyone caught with cannabis in Thailand should be prepared to face the repercussions.

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Thailand pushes to legalize cannabis for medical purposes