UPDATE: Thai legislators to meet with PM about fast-tracking medical marijuana legalization today

Photo: Teirra Kamolvattanavith/ Coconuts Media
Photo: Teirra Kamolvattanavith/ Coconuts Media

This has been a good week for herb lovers all around the world.

As Canada’s maple leaf turned green on Wednesday, Thailand’s legalization of medical marijuana may also be expected in the near future.

At yesterday’s “Medical Cannabis and the Law: From Drugs to Medicines” seminar at Chulalongkorn University, a Ministry of Public Health adviser revealed the next steps in the legalization process, including today’s meeting with Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

“We currently have five ways to legalize medical cannabis,” said Dr. Sopon Mekton, adviser to the minister of Public Health and chairman of the Medical Marijuana Board, reported Thai Post.  

Dr. Sopon Mekton -- Screenshot:
Dr. Sopon Mekton — Screenshot: Spring News

The first and most time-consuming option would be to wait for the re-evaluation of the drug code.

The second way is for the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to draft their own bill, which reportedly already began after the results of the NLA’s electronic questionnaire on Tuesday revealed that 99 percent of 100,000 Thai voters agree with legalization.

The NLA hopes to finalize the bill by the end of this month in order to hold big seminar where they can receive feedback, reported VoiceTV.

Third, they can meet with the prime minister about invoking Section 44, which will allow Prayuth Chan-ocha to override any laws and regulations in order to fast-track the legalization. Sopon added that this meeting is scheduled for today.

He believes that this is the fastest option, which may bring about legalization as soon as within three months.

Fourth, changing marijuana from the Category 5 Narcotics list to Category 2, where morphine is listed. This would also lower the punishment for recreational consumption from a fine of THB100,000–1,000,000 (about US$3,000-US$30,000) and/or one-year imprisonment to THB10,000–60,000 (about US$300-US$1,800).

And finally, issuing a more specific piece of legislation, which he suggested would also be very time consuming.

Nevertheless, Thailand appears to be moving forward towards legalization. If accomplished, Thailand would become the second country on the continent to allow medical cannabis, after faraway Israel made it available in pharmacies in April.

In fact, at the end of last month, the Narcotics Suppression Bureau gifted the Government Pharmaceutical Organization 100 kgs of convocated marijuana with the goal of beginning research this December, reported Komchadluek.

While you ganjapreneurs out there keep your fingers crossed, make sure to check out Coconuts TV’s three-part docuseries for Netflix, on the medical marijuana legalization movement and make sure to puff, puff, pass the good news along!

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