Thailand's legislature legalizes medical use of marijuana

Kratom a coffee-like plant native to Southeast Asia is sometimes taken by people to treat opioid addiction

Kratom a coffee-like plant native to Southeast Asia is sometimes taken by people to treat opioid addiction

The Southeast Asian country's parliament approved the medicinal marijuana bill on Tuesday making it the first country in the region known for its stringent drug policies to do so.

CNN reports that 166 members of the country's National Legislative Assembly voted in favor of the motion to legalize the drugs, while 13 abstained.

The law specifies that this culture would be framed, and the use of cannabis limited to a medical and non-recreational use.

The new year could bring a new medical marijuana market in an unlikely place: Southeast Asia. Kratom is a locally grown plant traditionally used as a stimulant and painkiller. New Zealand's government earlier this month enacted a law liberalizing the medical use of marijuana, which had previously been tightly restricted.

However, recreational use of the drug is still prohibited and invites strict legal actions in the country.

Marijuana traffickers can be subject to the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia. The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said that the sentence should be reviewed.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Thailand.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) also upheld the same hard stance on the use of recreational drugs, and warned that Singaporeans and permanent residents of the Republic who are found to have engaged in the misuse of such drugs overseas will be dealt with in the same way as those who have done so in Singapore.

Foreign firms are requesting patent and this is becoming a controversy in the country.

"We're going to demand that the government revoke all these requests before the law takes effect", Panthep Puapongpan, Dean of the Rangsit Institute of Integrative Medicine and Anti-Aging said.

While Thailand is now an active monarchy run by a King, the day-to-day government brass and tacks are handled by a military regime, which seized power in 2014.

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