Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has issued a decree ordering the Department of Intellectual Property to invalidate all patents for any molecule derived from cannabis, according to an ABC News report.
GW Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceutical had applied for patents earlier this month. Despite the fact that patents on natural organisms are explicitly prohibited, the applications were not rejected outright and instead were given a “patent pending” status.
Prime Minister Chan-ocha issued the decree due to concerns over foreign interests using patents to monopolize the Thai marketplace. According to the decree, and previous readings of the law, patents for cannabis products are already in violation of Thai law, which stipulates that plants cannot be patented.
The decree will hold sway on the issue of cannabis patents until such time as the Thai Parliament writes a complete law regulating medical cannabis, which was legalized at the beginning of the year in Thailand. The legalization bill still needs to be signed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn before the next stage of the process can begin.
The government of Thailand, which is a military dictatorship that took power in 2014, allows for sweeping decrees like the one invalidating all cannabis patents.
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