According to media reports, a bill pending before the National Legislative Assembly which will make Thailand become the first Asian country to legalize medical marijuana. Marijuana advocates had to a meeting with the head of the country’s military government, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha, to talk about facilitating the bill. According to provisions of the country’s constitution called Article 44, the prime minister has the right to enact legislation single-handedly.
According to a physician who has been advocating for the legalization of medical marijuana in Thailand for years known as Dr. Somyot Kittimunkong, many Thai people are already using medicinal cannabis.
Kittimunkong said that he has seen how doctors, a judge, and even high-level government officials use cannabis oil for the treatment of cancer. Even soldiers, police and many other people are using the plant. He also believes that people in all aspects of life are using cannabis oil in Thailand to treat cancer.
According to Kittimunkong, the legalization of medical marijuana has gained support from top officials in the country, who have realized the economic potential of legal marijuana.
Kittimunkong also said that he has met with many politicians who are in favor of cannabis legalization. Many political parties in Thailand are in favor of the commercial use of cannabis.
According to Kitty Chopaka, who is the chief marketing officer for the pro-legalization group the Highland Network, cannabis has a long history in Thailand.
Chopaka said that cannabis is part and parcel of Thailand’s culture. During past centuries, farmers would smoke weed to eat, relax, and then go to sleep. And then do the same thing all over again.
Another person who has been lobbying the military government for approval for medical marijuana research and development is Dr. Nopporn Cheanklin who is executive managing director of the Government Pharmaceutical Organization, part of the Ministry of Public Health.
According to Cheanklin, Thailand has a reputation for producing the best cannabis strains, and the best strains of cannabis in the world which have been re-engineered by other countries were from Thailand. Cheanklin also said that they must develop their strain to be able to compete with other nations.
According to Steve Rolles, who is a senior policy analyst for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, countries that want to be part of the international medical marijuana market should start planning.
Rolles also stated that its essential for new market entrants like Thailand to quickly established themselves in the marijuana industry, but current members including Canada and the U.S. will utilize their true advantage to gain more dominance in the marijuana industry.
According to the Asia regional director of the International Drug Policy Consortium, Gloria Lai, medical marijuana legalization in Thailand could spread similar measures throughout the region.
Lai said that it’s a positive move from policy-making focused on morality and ideology to focus on evidence. She also stated that some other countries would probably follow suit, as measures have been implemented, favoring the use of medical marijuana in South Korea, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines.