TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Thailand’s legislature has voted to legalize marijuana for medical use, as well as kratom, a plant local to Southeast Asia with stimulating effects.
CNN reports that 166 members of the country’s National Legislative Assembly voted in favor of the motion to legalize the drugs, while 13 abstained. No one objected the bill.
Thailand is the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize the use of medical marijuana. Many countries in the region still implement extremely harsh drug laws.
A man in Malaysia was given the death sentence for selling cannabis oil to the sick back in August.
Marijuana was used as a traditional medicine for centuries in Thailand before it was prohibited in the 1930s. On Dec. 25, legislators voted to amend narcotics laws introduced in the 1970s by the country’s junta-appointed parliament.
Thailand joins a wave of country’s around the world reconsidering laws regarding cannabis use. The drug is fully legalized for recreational use in Canada and Uruguay, while it has long been decriminalized for personal use in the Netherlands.
Cannabis is legal for recreational use under many U.S. jurisdictions, and was recently made available on prescription via the U.K. National Health Service.
In Taiwan, those caught in possession of the drug can still expect heavy fines and jail time, especially if found guilty of planting and distributing.
Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Thailand.