Thailand approves medical cannabis as 'New Years gift'

Thailand Breaks Medical Marijuana Barrier In Southeast Asia

Thailand legalizes medicinal marijuana in New Year's 'gift'

However, recreational marijuana is still illegal in the country which is based in a region where most countries have stringent laws against the use of drugs. Also known as kratom it is a locally grown plant used as stimulant and painkiller. There were no votes objecting the motion, while 13 members abstained.

Thailand is first Southeast Asias country to legalize medical marijuana. The decision to legalize these two products is under consideration in a neighboring country Malaysia, whereas New Zealand's government had passed a law earlier this month to liberalize the medicinal use of cannabis, which was restricted before. However, producers and researchers will still need a license to handle the drugs while the common people will require prescriptions.

As a New Years gift, the Thai government approved medical marijuana, making it possible to be used for research and medicinal use.

However, recreational use of the drug is still prohibited and invites strict legal actions in the country. The Malaysian Prime Minister, Mahathir Mohamad, said that the sentence should be reviewed.

The 45-year-old Pip Holmes, from Cornwall, says he asked a friend to send it to him while he was living in Bali to help his arthritis.

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Additionally, there has been some controversy over the medical marijuana program, but for fairly surprising reasons.

The main controversy surrounding marijuana in Thailand involved patent requests by foreign firms that could allow them to dominate the market, making for more hard access for Thai patients and researchers.

"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.

Some said they hoped Tuesday's approval would pave the way for legalisation for recreational use.

Also legalized for medicinal use under the new law is kratom, an evergreen tree in the coffee family which is indigenous to Southeast Asia.

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