Thailand has approved marijuana for research and medicine use and emerged as the first country in the Asian region to have the world’s tighter drug laws in allowing the drug.
The Thai parliamentary junta voted to support the amendment of the 1979 Narcotics Act in additional parliamentary sessions, prior to the New Year’s holiday.
Thailand has a tradition of using marijuana to reduce pain and fatigue until the 1930s.
“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the people of Thailand,” said chairman of the committee, Somchai Sawangkarn.
Although countries such as Colombia and Canada have allowed the use of marijuana for medical purposes and treatment, the drug remains illegal and becomes a taboo in Southeast Asian countries which have the most severe sentence for drug abuse.
Marijuana smugglers can be punished in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.
But in Thailand, the controversy involving the legislation is due to patent applications from foreign companies, it is expected to allow them to dominate the market.
The situation will cause difficulties for Thai patients to get medicines and Thai researchers get marijuana extracts.