A Thai activist with a medical marijuana tattoo on his face gathers with other activists to campaign for the legalization of medical marijuana.
Medical marijuana is set to be legalized in Thailand, following an amendment by the Junta government of Thailand. Thailand has a long history tradition of using marijuana to treat pain and fatigue since the 1930s in the Siam days. The parliament has voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1970 is an additional parliamentary session handling a rush of bills before the New Year’s holiday. This has marked a win for Thai activists who have long campaigned for the legalization of marijuana as it has proven to be very effective in treating pain.
“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people.” said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairman of the drafting committee, in a televised parliamentary session.
While other countries like Netherlands, Colombia and Canada have legalized marijuana for medical or even recreational use, this drug is still illegal and taboo across much of South-East Asia, which has some of the world’s harshest punishments for drug law violations.
In Thailand however, the main controversy with the legalization of marijuana involve patent requests by foreign firms that could allow them to dominate the market, making it harder for Thai patients to access medicines and for Thai researchers to access marijuana extracts.
“We’re going to demand that the government revoke all these requests before the law takes effect,” said PanthepPuapongpan, Dean of the Rangsit Institute of Integrative Medicine and Anti-Aging.