Where else can we find legal cannabis in Asia? Now that we’ve learnt that Cannabis has been semi-legalised in Thailand (for the purpose of medical purposes as well as for research), where else in Asia is the cannabis industry also changing?

Heres a quick recap on the timeline :

Timeline: Changes to Cannabis Laws in Asia in 2019

  • 18 Feb 2019: Thailand’s law to legalize medical use took effect
  • 12 Mar 2019: South Korea’s law to legalize medical use took effect
  • 24 Mar 2019: Japan approves trials for cannabis compound Epidiolex    

“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people,” said the Chairman of the country’s draft committee, Somchai Sawangkarn, as the Thai parliament voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979.

This Christmas Day 2018 ‘gift’ for the Thai people, approving the medical use of marijuana, could be credited for sparking a ‘Green Gold’ rush in the region.

Legal Cannabis in Asia : South Korea

South Korea’s policy to legalize medical marijuana took effect on March 12. Japan followed suit, approving clinical trials on March 24 for the cannabis compound Epidiolex, an oral solution used in treating persons with epilepsy. [Further reading here]

Legal Cannabis in Asia : Laos and Cambodia

Meanwhile, Laos and Cambodia have also started to explore the potential for a form of legalization, according to Brian Armstrong, CEO of Vinzan International, a global cannabis trading company. He calls Thailand’s decision “a major first step in Asia” that could “potentially spread across the region.”

Legal Cannabis in Asia : Malaysia

Further down south the peninsula, Malaysia’s Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad said in late June that “there should be decriminalization of drugs,” marking a change of stance. He noted that though drugs “destroyed many lives, wrongheaded governmental policies have destroyed many more.”

Here’s a little snippet that might interest our readers on the happenings of cannabis in Malaysia [taken off wikipedia]:

In 2018, public outrage over a death penalty handed to a 29-year-old man led Malaysia to discuss legalising cannabis for medical use, which could make them one of the first nations in Asia to do so. The previous Malaysian cabinet also discussed the medicinal value of marijuana in a September 2018 meeting and started early and informal talks on amending the relevant laws. However, as of 2021, such plans never materialised, and Malaysia since had a change of government under unrelated circumstances.

During the debate session for 12th Malaysia PlanSyed Saddiq proposed a review for use of medical marijuana. He cites the possibility of using it as alternative medical treatment for youths suffering mental health issues, while noting the expected growth of this industry to over RM400 billion in next 4 years from current annual grosses of RM60 billion.

Well will it happen, or will it not? I guess only time can tell. But with all the developments surrounding it and yet to have done anything meaningful about this opportunity, it does seem that CBD in Malaysia may yet be left behind (yet again).

Till the next time, keep on the metta guys.

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