NOV. 12, 2018 - THAILAND, MALAYSIA RACE TO LEGALISE MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Asia has the toughest
penalties against drug use and trafficking but the legal landscape is
shifting in several countries where cannabis, or marijuana, once
deemed ruinous to young lives, is emerging as a lucrative industry.
In Thailand, where
trafficking marijuana is illegal, parliament has set in motion plans
to legalise the drug for medical use. On November 9, the national
legislative assembly filed a proposal to re-classify marijuana as a
legal drug and allow its regulated sale and possession. Marijuana may
become available for licensed usage before the end of the year,
according to The Washington Post.
This would position the
Southeast Asian country as the epicentre of the burgeoning industry
and advocates claim Thailand’s legal marijuana market could make
US$5 billion by 2024.
Malaysia, which recently
scrapped the death penalty for all crimes including drug trafficking,
has begun informal cabinet discussions on legalising medical
marijuana, racing alongside Thailand to become the first Asian
country to allow the drug.
The “green gold rush”
has begun and Asian nations are eager to share in the windfall.