Legalization Update: Asia

Legalization Update: Asia

While Asia is probably not the first place you think of when you think of marijuana legalization — and with good reason — things might be starting to change.

Some Asian countries have a reputation for handing out severe punishments — ranging from fines to prison times to the death penalty — for the consumption of possession of weed. Despite that strict history, some Asian countries are starting to consider varying levels of legalization.

Newsweek recently took a look at the progress toward legalization across Asia. Here’s a quick rundown of their findings:

• While nothing is official yet, medical marijuana might soon become legal in Thailand. Early in November, the country’s National Legislative Assembly sent a proposed amendment to the Thailand’s Health Ministry, which would “reclassify marijuana as medicinally legal and regulate its possession and distribution.”

• The death penalty might soon be abolished for drug charges in Malaysia. Legalization is still a long way away, but this is an important step, nonetheless. Ministers in the nation are also talking about decriminalizing medical marijuana.

• The South Korean government is considering allowing the importation of CBD products, which is sure to be great news for people who could benefit from CBD treatments.

• China and Japan now allow research into the benefits of cannabis — research that could lead to the legalization of medical marijuana.

• The government of Sri Lanka has announced that cannabis could be legally used for Ayurvedic practices. The country might also start exporting medical marijuana.

According to an Amsterdam-based think tank, “Nepal, Bhutan and India may also be open to legalizing medical cannabis.”

What’s Next?

While industry experts cite tax revenue as a key motivator in Asia’s eventual move toward legalization, marijuana laws across the region are expected to remain strict for the time being.

For now, only medical marijuana is considered for legalization in some countries. Recreational use seems out of the question. Until something changes, laws will remain very strict and high sentences will continued to be handed out.

According to a reminder tweeted out by the Canadian government, custom officers in Singapore, for example, can request a drug test as soon as you enter the country.    
Singapore’s Central Narcotics Bureau made it clear that consuming cannabis abroad would be a very bad idea, according to the Canadian tweet.

“If you test positive for drugs,” the tweet continues, “you can be arrested and prosecuted, even if the drugs were consumed prior to your arrival in the country.”

So, as you can see, even though laws will likely change sooner or later, it’s probably best to leave your weed at home — or stay away from cannabis for awhile — before your next trip to Asia.

Stay tuned to The Sugar Leaf for updates.