Thailand’s legislature on Tuesday agreed to amend the country’s drug law to allow the licensed medical use of marijuana, as well as kratom, a locally grown plant traditionally used as a stimulant and painkiller.
Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia to take such action, which is also under consideration in neighboring Malaysia. New Zealand’s government earlier this month enacted a law liberalizing the medical use of marijuana, which had previously been tightly restricted.
The Thai legislation passed its final reading at the National Legislative Assembly by a vote of 166-0 with 13 abstentions.
Recreational use of the drugs remains illegal and subject to prison terms and fines commensurate with the quantities involved. Public hearings showed overwhelming support for the measure.