Thailand, Soon To Be Asia’s Medical Marijuana Hub

The latest development in Thailand is that it will soon legalize “medical marijuana”, thereby, it will become the first Asian country to legalize marijuana for medical use and research. This proposal of legalization is expected to become a law by May 2019 at the latest.

Marijuana: Part of Thai culture since ages

Marijuana was considered and extensively used as a traditional medicine in Thailand. It was mostly used as a pain reliever and muscle relaxer. However, Marijuana was banned in 1934 and so was its utilization.

It is pertinent to note that legalization of marijuana is restricted to only medical use namely inter alia, treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy and pain and nausea in cancer patients. Legalizing of medical marijuana would mean that doctors can prescribe the patients to use cannabis for their ailments, and will use Marijuana in research centers. Medical institutes can freely produce and test the drug for new inventions.

Doctors also may prescribe medical marijuana to treat:

  1. Muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis
  2. Nausea from cancer chemotherapy
  3. Poor appetite and weight loss caused by chronic illness, such as HIV, or nerve pain
  4. Seizure disorders
  5. Crohn’s disease

As it being the only country in Asia using marijuana for medicinal purposes, people from neighboring countries will take advantage and will head to Thailand which will increase medical tourists in the nation. Such legalization and usage of Marijuana will definitely push other countries such as Colombia, Denmark, USA, Britain, etc. to legalize marijuana. However, Uruguay and Canada have gone one step further and also legalized recreational use.

Battle between Thai and Foreign companies

Considering the suitable climate for Marijuana in Thailand leading to lower cost of production as compared to other countries, it is no less than a cash crop. Therefore, the Commerce Minister, Mr. Sontirat Sontijirawong is vouching for a tremendous economic growth in the country due to legalization of Marijuana.

Basis, cost effectiveness, foreign companies are eyeing to move in and take over licenses for its production in the country, which will help them to run the lucrative market. Thus, leading to an internal battle between local and foreign firms over control of a potentially profitable market. The Government is trying to fix this by prioritizing its residents first and has granted the rights of researching on Marijuana plant, its production and extracting rights to Thai companies. Further, Foreign companies may only be given an opportunity if it is a joint venture with a local Thai company. This move by Thailand has led to an incentive for other countries to invest more in Thailand and grow more presence in Thailand markets. For example, U.S. and Canadian companies are expected to increase their presence in Thailand through Joint ventures with local companies. Likewise they can produce and export marijuana which would increase the proximity to larger markets in India and China.

Concern of Thai Companies

Further, Thai business entities and activists have raised concerns that propel of patent requests filed by foreign firms could allow them to dominate the market and make it harder for researchers to access marijuana extracts.

According to Zion market research, string of patent requests filed by overseas firms could allow them to influence Thai companies out of what’s projected to be a $62.9 billion global marijuana market by 2024.

Rigid penalties for Illegal possession of Marijuana

Thailand encounters lot many cases of illegal possession of marijuana and thus, Thailand laws are very rigid with its laws on illegal possession of drugs. There are serious immigration consequences for a marijuana arrest which may lead to deportation by immigration, there is also the possibility of being “blacklisted” after which guilty people will never be able to return to Thailand.

Charges for Possession of marijuana in Thailand can entail the following punishments:

  • For minor use of marijuana, fine of up to 10,000 Baht or maximum of up to 1 year in prison sentence can be given.
  • For possession of up to 10kg of Marijuana, fine of up to 50,000 baht and maximum of up to 5 years in prison sentence can be given.
  • For possession of 10kg or more, this is considered as possession with intent to sell. The sentence can range from 2 – 15 years in prison, and/or include a fine of 20,000 to 150,000 baht. Charges can also be levied for amounts of 10kg or more for the intent to produce, import or export cannabis. The sentence is the same.

Author: Ms. Deepika Sharma, Sr. Patent Associate at Khurana & Khurana, Advocates and IP Attorneys. In case of any queries please contact/write back to us at deepika@iiprd.com.

References:

[1]https://www.thejakartapost.com/life/2018/12/19/medical-marijuana-is-coming-to-thailand.html

[2]https://www.aseantoday.com/2018/12/thailands-move-to-become-asias-medical-marijuana-hub/

[3]https://www.reuters.com/article/us-thailand-cannabis/weeding-out-foreigners-strains-over-thailands-legalization-of-marijuana-idUSKBN1OB0D0

[4]http://www.thailand-lawyer.com/marijuana-arrest.html

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

17 + 12 =

Archives

  • February 2021
  • January 2021
  • December 2020
  • November 2020
  • October 2020
  • September 2020
  • August 2020
  • July 2020
  • June 2020
  • May 2020
  • April 2020
  • March 2020
  • February 2020
  • January 2020
  • December 2019
  • November 2019
  • October 2019
  • September 2019
  • August 2019
  • July 2019
  • June 2019
  • May 2019
  • April 2019
  • March 2019
  • February 2019
  • January 2019
  • December 2018
  • November 2018
  • October 2018
  • September 2018
  • August 2018
  • July 2018
  • June 2018
  • May 2018
  • April 2018
  • March 2018
  • February 2018
  • January 2018
  • December 2017
  • November 2017
  • October 2017
  • September 2017
  • August 2017
  • July 2017
  • June 2017
  • May 2017
  • April 2017
  • March 2017
  • February 2017
  • January 2017
  • December 2016
  • November 2016
  • October 2016
  • September 2016
  • August 2016
  • July 2016
  • June 2016
  • May 2016
  • April 2016
  • March 2016
  • February 2016
  • January 2016
  • December 2015
  • November 2015
  • October 2015
  • September 2015
  • August 2015
  • July 2015
  • June 2015
  • May 2015
  • April 2015
  • March 2015
  • February 2015
  • January 2015
  • December 2014
  • November 2014
  • October 2014
  • September 2014
  • August 2014
  • July 2014
  • June 2014
  • May 2014
  • April 2014
  • March 2014
  • February 2014
  • January 2014
  • December 2013
  • November 2013
  • October 2013
  • September 2013
  • August 2013
  • July 2013
  • June 2013
  • May 2013
  • April 2013
  • March 2013
  • February 2013
  • January 2013
  • December 2012
  • November 2012
  • September 2012
  • August 2012
  • July 2012
  • June 2012
  • May 2012
  • April 2012
  • March 2012
  • February 2012
  • January 2012
  • December 2011
  • November 2011
  • October 2011
  • September 2011
  • August 2011
  • July 2011
  • June 2011
  • May 2011
  • April 2011
  • March 2011
  • February 2011
  • January 2011
  • December 2010
  • September 2010
  • July 2010
  • June 2010
  • May 2010
  • April 2010