Thailand Plans to Make Marijuana Legal, Scrapping Jail Terms and Fines for Possession

Thailand plans to decriminalize marijuana, moving a step closer to clearing its use for recreation, after becoming the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical cannabis and its use in food and cosmetics.

The nation’s Food and Drug Administration is set to propose the removal of marijuana from a list of controlled drugs to the narcotics control board on Wednesday. Once cleared by the board, the proposal will need to be approved by Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul before it becomes effective.

The move could allow people full access to marijuana without the fear of lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines, according to Withid Sariddeechaikool, a deputy secretary-general of the FDA. Currently, possession of cannabis in Thailand could land its owner in jail for up to 15 years as the plant is a category-5 narcotic drug.

“If we’re able to decriminalize marijuana, we will be able to benefit from all of the plant and not just parts of it,” Withid said. “The flower buds and seeds could be used economically and in compliance of the law.”

Thailand has pursued a piecemeal approach to liberalizing marijuana, retaining many laws that restricted the growing, harvesting and extracting of the cash crop. With marijuana classified as a narcotic, individuals are barred from possessing it though the country has allowed businesses more access to the plant. [Read More @ Bloomberg]

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