Thailand plans to decriminalize marijuana, moving a step closer to legalizing adult use of the herb.
It was the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical Cannabis. Cannabis use in food and cosmetics is also legal in Thailand, reports Bloomberg.
The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday will propose to the narcotics bureau the removal of marijuana from controlled drugs. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul will then approve the change and it will take effect.
Adults will be able access to marijuana without fearing lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines, according to Withid Sariddeechaikool of Thailand’s FDA. Currently, possession of cannabis in Thailand could garner up to 15 years in prison. The plant is a category 5 narcotic drug.
“If we’re able to decriminalize marijuana, we will be able to benefit from all of the plant and not just parts of it,” Withid said.
High THC Products Probably Still “Regulated”
Thailand has pursued a piecemeal approach to liberalizing marijuana. It has kept many laws that prohibit the growing, harvesting and extracting of Cannabis crops.
Marijuana, under current Thai law, is classified a narcotic. It is illegal for individuals to possess it. The country has, however, allowed more access to the plant for businesses.
“While the law change will allow all parts of cannabis to be bought, sold and used, recreational use will likely remain controlled, as marijuana extracts with higher tetrahydrocannabinol levels that get people high will still be regulated,” said analyst Chaiwat Sowcharoensuk at Krungsri Research.
“Producers of soaps, beauty products and cosmetics from marijuana will likely be the ones to benefit the most from the decriminalisation,” he said.