First Asian Country To Decriminalise Marijuana
Thailand legalised cultivating and consuming cannabis this month, becoming the first Asian country to decriminalise marijuana for medical & industrial use, reversing a hard-line approach of long prison sentences or even the death penalty for drug offences. After Thailand, Germany is on the move with its plan to legalise marijuana. The Public Health Ministry of Thailand issued a ministerial directive prohibiting the sale of cannabis & hemp to people aged under 20, pregnant women, & breastfeeding mothers. The directive also bans smoking weed in public, which has been described as a “controlled herbal plant”.
The country’s parliament must pass a draft cannabis bill, but it could be months away from becoming law. Thailand’s government has been issuing piecemeal rules to try to bring some order to cannabis use this week,. Various other rules included banning the drug from schools, a requirement for retailers to provide clear information on cannabis usage in food & drinks, and the application of a health law that defined marijuana smoke as a public nuisance punishable by jail time & a fine. Critics opine that the government’s hasty move to remove criminal penalties on marijuana before passing a law to ensure that the substance is regulated. Overcrowding in the country’s prisons can also be expected to be reduced due to the relaxation of the laws.
Banking on the plant as a cash crop, the government plans to give away a million plants to encourage farmers to take up its cultivation. Cannabis growers need to register themselves on a government app so called PlookGanja or grow ganja. Nearly 1 Lakh people have signed up so far. The health ministry of Thailand said 1,181 products have been approved including cosmetics & food, containing cannabis extracts & it is expected that the industry will earn as much as 15 billion baht ($435 million). But authorities target to head off an explosion of recreational use by limiting the strength of the products on offer.
Mainly, Thailand wants to make a splash in the market for medical marijuana. A well-developed medical tourism industry is already here, & its tropical climate is ideal for growing cannabis. Predicted economic fruits are at the heart of Thailand's marijuana reforms, targeted to boost everything from national income to small farmers’ livelihoods. But there is concern if the benefits will be distributed equitably. One fear is that large corporations could unfairly benefit from proposed regulations involving complicated licensing processes & expensive fees for commercial use that would handicap small producers.
Marijuana is mostly considered as being of recreational use in Indian context, but it is not just that. Perhaps, Recreational use is true for not more than 5%; for the rest, it has medicinal purposes. The cannabis plant has tremendous amount of medicinal value & its potential for industrial usage can hardly be overstated. A few billion dollars is being invested by China in developing different strains of the marijuana plant towards various objectives. It has proper factories for processing marijuana. Many countries have developed fabrics. It has potential of unlimited usage in different fields, including in the field of semiconductors.
Felicitating laws around marijuana can be a bit tricky, given that a lot differs depending on countries & cultures. Canada, Uruguay, South Africa and USA are some of the countries where marijuana is legal. Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Australia, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Belgium, Estonia, and Moldova are some of the countries where marijuana is decriminalised. The new law appears to put Thailand in the most liberal approach to marijuana anywhere in the world. However, the govt. of Thailand may not have been prepared for the cannabis in all its forms seen across Thailand since the new law was brought. Anything is made by this new law pretty much related to cannabis legal. The government has been now drafting additional regulations over its use. Officially its stand is that the law only allows cannabis for medical use, not recreational purposes, but it's hard to see how they will enforce that distinction.
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