November 24, 2018 - 15:44 AMT
Thailand moves closer to legalizing marijuana

Thailand is moving closer to getting medical marijuana legalised, as the bill on the issue has already made headway in the legislative process.

On Friday, November 23, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) approved the bill with 145 votes allowing marijuana to be used for medical and research purposes, The Nation says.

Nobody attending the NLA session objected to the bill, and only one legislator abstained. The NLA’s Somchai Swangkarn said a vetting committee on the bill has also been established.

“We believe the NLA will take 60 days to deliberate this draft,” he said.

Over the period, he also expects relevant authorities to sort out cannabis-related patent issues after several civic organisations expressed concerns that all patent applications submitted to the Intellectual Property Department came from foreigners. If this is true, then once medical marijuana is legalised, foreign firms may monopolise the market.

“Government agencies should find ways to ensure that foreigners will not keep Thais away from the benefits of marijuana and kratom [Mitragyna speciosa],” Somchai said. NLA member Kitti Wasinondh hopes the assembly’s deliberation will ensure that the new law for medical marijuana can facilitate research in both public and private sectors.

“Even the government should not be allowed to monopolise the benefits of marijuana,” he emphasised.

Research has suggested that cannabinoids can be useful in the treatment of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, cancer and more.