Thailand has become the first country in Southeast Asia to legalise the use of cannabis as a drug. Marijuana is said to be able to treat various diseases including Parkinson’s, asthma, insomnia, autism and even cancer. But there are also studies that have shown the negative effects cannabis, such as brain damage and addiction.
While hemp plants are now grown at the Royal Agriculture Pangda in Samoeng, weed remains illegal and banned in Thailand. “We will make the public understand that it’s for medical purposes only, not for recreation,” said Niyom Termsrisuk, the Secretary-General of Office of Narcotics Control Board (ONCB). The Thai military conducts search and destroy mission in the hills of Chiang Rai to rid of illegal drug plantations.
Countries like Philippines and Malaysia are considering legalising medical marijuana, possibly indicating a turning point on the region’s long-standing tough war on drugs. Carrying and transporting of drugs however, still result in death penalty in countries like Singapore.
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