BANGKOK – Thailand’s Junta Government the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Christmas Day passed the second and third readings of an amendment to the narcotics law legalizing the production, import, export, possession and use of cannabis and kratom products for medical purposes.
The bill received 166 votes in favour with 13 abstentions. The final version sees a bigger narcotics control committee with 25 members instead of 17.
The eight additions were the permanent secretary for agriculture and the chiefs of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, the Department of Industrial Works, the Department of Health Service Support, the Department of Mental Health, the Medical Council of Thailand, the Thai Traditional Medical Council and the Pharmacy Council of Thailand.
The law authorises the committee to approve the production, import, export and possession of cannabis and kratom as well as related regulations.
It permits the use of cannabis and kratom for government and medical benefits, the treatment of patients, research and development, agriculture, commerce, science and industry.
Consumers will be able to carry specified amounts necessary for treatment of illness if they have prescriptions or certificates from professionals in medicine, dentistry, Thai traditional and alternative medicine or indigenous medicine. Possession will be subject to conditions approved by the narcotics control committee.
Licences for the production, import, export, sale and possession of cannabis and kratom will be for government organisations tasked with medical and agricultural research and education and narcotics suppression, the Thai Red Cross Society, Thai traditional and indigenous medical professions, medical universities, registered community-based farmers’ organisations, international transport operators, international travelling patients who need to carry narcotics and those approved by the public health minister.
The licences can be transferred to heirs or specified recipients if the licensees die before their licences expire.
Violators will be liable to 5-15 years in prison and/or a fine of up to 1 million baht, depending on the amounts of cannabis and kratom illegally in their possession.
The amendment will become law only when it is published in the Government Gazette.
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By Aekarach Sattaburuth
The Bangkok Post