NLA unanimously accepts cannabis bill in first reading

NLA unanimously accepts cannabis bill in first reading

A bill to legalise medical cannabis passed the first reading in the National Legislative Assembly on Friday, with 145 votes of support and one abstention. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A bill to legalise medical cannabis passed the first reading in the National Legislative Assembly on Friday, with 145 votes of support and one abstention. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Friday unanimously accepted for scrutiny an amendment bill to legalise production, import and export of cannabis and kratom for medical purposes.

The NLA met to consider the bill to amend the Narcotics Act, proposed by a group of 44 NLA members led by Somchai Swangkarn, in the first reading.

The bill outlines the uses of Category 5 drugs, which include cannabis and kratom, for use in treatment, in a similar way to the Category 2 drug opium, Mr Somchai said during the meeting.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board will determine areas where cannabis can be planted and used under the draft amendment.

Agencies and people who will be allowed to have cannabis in their possession for medical purposes include ministries, local administrative bodies, the Red Cross, the Government Pharmaceutical Organisation and those in medical fields. Those who seek permission must not have prior convictions for violation of the narcotics law.

The public health minister will grant permission by taking into consideration views from a narcotics control committee.

The amendment bill had passed a public hearing in compliance with Section 77 of the constitution, he said, and 99.03% of people agreed with its provisions on the NLA website forums.

Many NLA members spoke in support of the bill, which received 145 votes of support in the first reading. One person abstained.

The NLA agreed to set up a 29-member panel within seven days to scrutinise the bill. The process would take about 60 days.

Meanwhile, laboratory tests on dried illegal marijuana seized by police, to determine if it could be used for medical purposes, have found pesticides and metals in the samples.

The Department of Medical Sciences and the Government Pharmaceutical Organization on Friday unveiled the  results for 100kg of dried marijuana sent by the Narcotics Suppression Bureau for testing.

The tests detected no antifungal agents -- difenoconozole and propioconazole -- but found the samples were contaminated with pesticides -- chlorpyrifos and cypermethrin --and heavy metals,  Dr Opas Karnkawinpong, director-general of the Department of Medical Sciences, said.

The department concluded that the marijuana samples were not suitable for obtaining extracts to treat patients. 


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