NLA passes marijuana legalization bill

The National Legislative Assembly on Tuesday passed into law a bill that seeks to legalize the possession and use of marijuana and krathom for medical purposes, the import, export, trading and production of marijuana for research and development, agricultural, scientific or industrial purposes.

However, for someone to legally possess or use marijuana or krathom, a plant that contains compounds with psychotropic effects, for medical purposes, for the treatment of patients, research and development, commerce, scientific or industrial use, a prescription or a certificate must be sought with a practitioner in pharmacy, dentistry, traditional medicine or alternative medicine under conditions specified by the agriculture minister and with approval of Narcotics Control Committee.

The amount of marijuana permissible for possession must not exceed ten kilogrammes and amount exceeding ten kilogrammes is considered as for trading purpose.

Not everyone can legally produce, import, export or trade in marijuana or krathom.  The law allows only certain categories of people and agencies, such as state agencies tasked with research or teaching medical and agricultural lessons; state agencies tasked with prevention and suppression of narcotic drugs, the Thai Red Cross, medical practitioners, including practitioners in traditional medicine, patients who need marijuana or krathom while travelling overseas or operators of international transport.

Under the bill, the Narcotics Control Committee will be made up of 25 members instead of 17 with the newcomers being the agriculture permanent secretary, the director-general of Traditional and Alternative Medicine, director-general of Industrial Works Department, director-general of Mental Health Department, Medical Council  president.

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