Thailand has moved another step closer to the legalization of medical marijuana, with the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) passing a bill on the issue in its first reading with a unanimous vote.
On Friday the bill was approved with 145 votes and no objections, while one legislator abstained.
The bill would amend the existing narcotics law to allow marijuana to be used for medical and research purposes.
NLA member Somchai Sawaengkan said a 29 member committee had been set up to scrutinize the bill, and this should take 60 days.
Somchai said surveys had found that 99 percent of respondents backed the bill.
Another NLA member, Kitti Wasinondh, said he hoped the assembly’s deliberation would ensure the new law for medical marijuana facilitated research in both the public and private sectors, emphasizing that the government shouldn’t be allowed to monopolize the benefits of marijuana.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO) will prepare the planting of cannabis at an indoor growing area in its building in Rangsit Klong 10. It will also seek more cannabis from the Narcotics Suppression Bureau for lab tests.
More than 100 kg of confiscated marijuana police handed to the GPO last month was found to be unfit for medical use, as it contained traces of pesticides and heavy metals.