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Thailand plans to widen medical marijuana production

Thailand’s cabinet approved amendments on Tuesday to its narcotics act to allow private production and sale of marijuana for medical use, officials said

With a tradition of using the leaf to relieve pain and fatigue, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian nation to legalise marijuana in 2017 for medical use and research, but only the government was allowed to grow plants.

Deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul told reporters after a cabinet meeting that the proposed amendments would also allow patients, businesses and medical professionals to produce, export, import and sell the leaf.

“The law will promote the pharmaceutical industry and increase competitiveness, which will be important for Thailand in becoming a leader in medical cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul also told reporters.

Thailand has dropped cannabis extracts from its narcotics list and opened medical marijuana clinics.

Cannabis still remains a category five drug under Thai law, however, and illegal possession is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and fines of up to 1.5 million baht ($48,000). [Read more at Reuters]

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