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Thailand On Track To Legalize Medical Marijuana

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Thailand On Track To Legalize Medical Marijuana

Thailand might soon join the list of countries where medical marijuana is legal. The country's legislature has proposed some changes to the law that would include marijuana and a locally-popular plant into a legal category that would allow possession and distribution under certain conditions.

What Happened

On Friday, Thai National Legislative Assembly submitted the proposed amendments that would legalize marijuana for medical use to the Health Ministry. The new regulations also involve kratom, a plant that's locally popular as a painkiller.

The ministry will have to review the amendments and forward them to the Cabinet, which will return it to the Legislative Assembly in a version that can be voted on. The whole process could be completed by the end of 2018.

Why It's Important

If the new legislation passes, Thailand would be the first country in the region to legalize marijuana, even if for medical use only. It also highlights the support cannabis is receiving around the world, which has prompted governments to recognize its medical benefits.

Thai legislature said it acknowledges studies that show the medicinal benefits of marijuana extracts and that it follows in the footsteps of other countries that allowed legal and recreational use of marijuana and kratom.

What's Next

Somchai Sawangkarn said the amendments met some resistance because of the involvement of big pharmaceutical companies that sell synthetic painkillers, the Associated Press reported. The National Assembly might also consider further amendments to address concerns such as the access of marijuana to children or to ensure that the marijuana licenses are awarded through a fair process.

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