Thailand is making some big moves as they become the first Asian country to legalize marijuana for medicinal purpose.
• Possession of cannabis and kratom within legal limits will be allowed for treatment of certain diseases, for first aid or in cases of emergency.
• A committee has the jurisdiction to give permission for requests of the production, import and export of marijuana.
The Big Picture
Under the revised Narcotic Drugs Act, possession of marijuana and kratom within legal limits will be allowed for treatment of certain diseases, for first aid or in cases of emergency.
However, anyone possessing more than 10 kilograms (22 pounds) of marijuana will be treated as having the intent to sell it illegally. The possession of marijuana for purposes other than the strict limits outlined under the law remains accountable for legal action.
Those found in possession of less than 10 kilograms of marijuana could still face up to five years in jail and a fine of 100,000 baht.
Anyone possessing more than 10 kilograms risks prosecution of between one and 15 years, and a fine up to 1 million baht.
The law amends the existing Narcotic Drugs Act of 1979.
The amendment also increases the National Narcotics Control Committee to 25 members, up from 17. The eight new members include the permanent secretary of the Agriculture and Cooperatives Ministry, the director-general of the Department for Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, and the director-general of the Department of Health Service Support.
The committee has the authority to give permission to requests for production, import and export of marijuana, and also to approve regulations proposed by relevant state agencies.
After the law has been in force for three years, the committee is required to review all permissions every six months.
The Fine Print
The law allows possession of “a necessary amount” of marijuana for medical treatment.
Those in possession of the drug for this purpose need to carry a doctor’s prescription.
It will also be legal under the new law to possess marijuana for research and development as well as agricultural, commercial, scientific and industrial purposes.
Among those permitted to possess marijuana are patients who need the drug for treatment, state agencies responsible for research or medicine-related education, Thai Red Cross, anti-narcotics agencies, institutions of higher education with research and teaching on medicine, and registered farmer groups.
With this law going into effect, the growing of marijuana and processing within the legal limit will be allowed, under close supervision by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board.
The bill will be forwarded for royal endorsement before being published in the Royal Gazette.