Thailand set to legalise cannabis for medical use by May next year

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Products of medical cannabis are available for sale in a store in Athens, Greece, on Nov. 21, 2018. Greece is the sixth EU country to legalise the drug for medical use.Thailand is set to become the first Asian country when the government passes a law allowing the sale of the drug for medical use. Xinhua

BANGKOK (Xinhua) – The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) of Thailand has said that cannabis for medical use in the country is expected to be legalised by May next year.

Speaking to Xinhua at the seminar “Medical Use of Cannabis: Experiences of Australia, Canada and the Netherlands,” Chuanpit Choomwattana, advisor to the ONCB said, the legalising of cannabis for medical purposes will have to go through several legislative readings before it becomes legalised.

“The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will have to pass the first reading to legitimise the use of cannabis for medical purposes only,” said Mr Chuanpit.

In February next year, the NLA will then pass another bill to allow possession of cannabis, but again only for medical purposes before giving cannabis full legalisation before the month of May next year.

The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) had in September begun working with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Narcotics Suppression Bureau to launch a research project on developing and mass-producing medicines from marijuana.

The Narcotics Suppression Bureau has already given 100 kilograms of seized marijuana to the GPO as raw material for their research.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice Prajin Junthong who presided over the opening of the seminar expressed confidence over the 55.8 billion lucrative industry.

“Thailand is a tropical country which is most suited to grow high hemp plant,” said Mr Prajin.

“The Kingdom has the potential to be a world leader in the development and production of cannabinoid medicines, which would enhance the efficiency of medical care and treatments in many patient groups.”

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