Thailand to allow medical use of cocaine, opium and morphine

Thailand has ordered more than 100 drugs including cocaine, morphine and opium decriminalized for medical and research use.

The sale and possession of 102 substances classified as Category 2 drugs by the 1979 Narcotics Act may be sold or used under very specific limitations, according to a proclamation in yesterday’s Royal Gazette. The new regulations will come into effect in July 2021.

Category 2 narcotics include cocaine, opium, morphine oxycodone, fentanyl and codeine. 

Possession and use will be granted to governmental organizations, approved pharmacies and health workers such as pharmacists, dentists and veterinarians. They can only be sold for medical treatments, research or “government benefit,” according to the proclamation.

The regulatory shift is similar to that made in the wake of December 2018 legislation that cleared the way for medical marijuana.

Possession is allowed for the purpose of manufacturing approved medical formulas and approved research programs. Notably, much as was approved for cannabis to clear the way for eventual cannabis tourism, it will be allowed aboard registered commercial vessels and airplanes for “emergency medical use.”


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