11 July 2024

The National Legislative Assembly is due to debate Friday on the amendments to the Narcotics Act to pave the way for the use of marijuana extracts for medical purpose, said Somchai Sawaengkarn, secretary of the parliamentary affairs extraordinary committee.

After the first reading, the NLA will set up a panel to scrutinize the bill before it is returned to the assembly for the second and third readings, he said, adding that the process would take about 60 days and the bill should be approved by January 23.

On Tuesday, Intellectual Property Department deputy director-general Direk Boonthae was invited to testify to the NLA “whips” about the applications for the patent of marijuana extracts by foreign companies with focus on the cancellation of the applications as marijuana is still regarded as illegal.

Direk told the NLA members that the department had not granted a single patent for marijuana extracts to any of the applicants.
Despite the assurance, Somchai said the panel was not comfortable because there are still seven applications pending with the Intellectual Property Department.

A network of pro-marijuana green groups on Tuesday submitted a letter addressed to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to call on the government to revoke all the applications for the patent of marijuana, especially for medical purpose.

They also proposed the promotion of marijuana as an economic crop to provide farmers with a new source of income and to allow limited use of the plant as well as promotion of research and development for medical purpose.