Thailand’s public health minister on Tuesday signed a ministerial announcement officially removing cannabis and hemp from Category 5 of the nation’s narcotics list, The Diplomat reports. The move effectively decriminalizes cannabis in the Southeast Asian nation.
Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said during the signing ceremony that cannabis “has plenty of medical benefits, not different from other herbs” and that officials are trying their best “to make the Thai people enjoy both medical and economic benefits from it.”
Thailand legalized medical cannabis in 2020 — the first Asian nation to pass the reforms. The delisting will take effect 120 days after its publication in the Royal Gazette; however, the law still includes some penalties for extracts containing more than 0.2% THC, the report says. A bill to clarify the reforms is expected to be introduced in the nation’s parliament.
At the signing ceremony, Charnvirakul described the move as a “new history for cannabis” in Thailand.
Tonnam Niyamapar, a member of The Alliance of Citizens’ Cannabis Association, a lobbying group, told the Associated Press that he hopes the country “will finally liberalize cannabis for both medical and recreational use like the United States or Canada.” Tonnam added that he understands full legalization “will take more years” to occur.
Canada legalized cannabis for adults in 2018, while in the U.S., cannabis remains federally outlawed; however, 18 states have passed laws allowing adult use.
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