On January 25, Thailand became the first Asian country to decriminalize cannabis opening the door to grow cannabis medically. They officially dropped cannabis off the controlled substance list for the country allowing medical patients to grow cannabis for personal use. You can imagine how huge this is considering just how illegal cannabis is in Asian countries. Just last year, Singapore sentenced a man to death by hanging for cannabis possession. The change doesn’t necessarily mean possession is not a punishable offense. Thankfully, hanging for cannabis could be a thing of the past.
Despite all of that, cannabis was legalized for medical use and research in 2018. Possession and recreational use without informing the local government, however, was highly illegal. Two years ago, the country additionally decriminalized the production and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes. The newest decision would remove the entire plant from category 5 allowing for cannabis home grows after government approval. The effect, however, is not immediate. The country’s health minister has to approve the delisting. It becomes law 120 days later.
Since 2019, Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul has pushed for cannabis acceptance in his country. He campaigned for the legalization of cannabis production to aid farmers and promote cannabis as a major industry. As of now, Thailand leads this part of the world in cannabis reform.
The draft bill punishes growing cannabis without notifying the government with a fine of up to 20,000 baht ($605.33) and prescribes a fine of up to 300,000 baht or three years in jail, or both, for selling it without a license.–Reuters
Recreational cannabis use remains illegal but Charnvirakul plans to clarify the new laws in the coming weeks. While some Asian countries have a long history with cannabis, it remains illegal as far as their governments are concerned.