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Thailand’s Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) recently announced it is expected to legalize cannabis use by May of 2019, becoming the first Asian government to show signs of cannabis acceptance.

An official with the ONCB said the process could take some time given the legislative process it must go through. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will have to pass the first reading to legalize the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

After that, by February 2019 predicts the official,, the NLA would have to pass another bill to allow possession of cannabis for medical purposes. Thai government agencies have already begun studying the development and uses of medical cannabis. The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (GPO) received over 100 kilograms of seized marijuana from the Narcotic Suppression Bureau to launch a research project with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop and produce medicines from marijuana in September.

The country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice, Prajin Junthong, sees a bigger benefit for the country in the economic profits of the $55 billion global industry, saying “Thailand is a tropical country most suited to grow high hemp plant.”

The move is significant given that it will be the first major Asian country to even budge on cannabis laws, let alone fully legalize and regulate the plant for medical use. Countries such as South Korea, who issued a warning to its citizens in Canada that they can be imprisoned should they consume marijuana in the country, Japan, where celebrity cannabis users are often publicly shamed in the media, and China, who also warned its citizens in Canada, have maintained very strong stances against any form of drug policy alteration.

Source: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2018/11/thailand-to-legalise-cannabis-for-medical-use-by-may-2019/

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