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Japan, Korea, Thailand... Are medical marijuana legalized in Asia?

2020/10/13|Knowledge

1. South Korea: the first country in East Asia to legalize medical marijuana

In November 2018, the national assembly of South Korea voted to amend the narcotics control law. The new law stipulates: with the approval of the Minister of food and drug safety, marijuana for medical purposes can be exported, manufactured, transported, traded or consumed. Starting from 2019, drugs containing cannabis ingredients are allowed to be imported and used in South Korea.

However, private companies are not allowed to process and produce marijuana based drugs. Currently, only the orphans and essential drugs Center (koedc) in Seoul, South Korea, has access to regular cannabis drugs.

This revision of the narcotics control law is the first time in nearly 50 years that South Korea has revised the regulations related to marijuana. As a result, South Korea became the first country in East Asia to legalize medical marijuana. However, South Korea still strictly forbids hemp based food, CBD oil and other extract products that are not certified as pharmaceutical products.

Although Korean companies can not import CBD oil, they can import CBD ingredients extracted from hemp seeds, stems and roots without any THC. In the Korean market, you can buy CBD labeled hemp seed oil, but the real CBD oil is not allowed to be sold.

2. Japan - adopting licensing system, CBD products are completely legal

In Japan, the government adopts a "licensing system" for all acts of marijuana. In 1948, Japan promulgated the law on banning marijuana, which stipulates that it is illegal to hold or transfer marijuana. If you want to engage in marijuana related industries, you must apply to the local government for permission to engage in relevant activities within the scope of permission.

Those who plant or import or export marijuana without permission shall be sentenced to imprisonment for not more than seven years; those who possess, give or accept marijuana without permission will be sentenced to imprisonment of not more than five years. If you make money through marijuana production, you will be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

Although industrial hemp is subject to many restrictions in Japan, CBD, the extract of industrial hemp, is legal. Generally speaking, products added with CBD will not be controlled as long as they meet the following two conditions: first, they do not contain thc; second, they can prove that the added CBD is extracted from hemp seeds or mature stems.

At present, Japan has become the "paradise" of CBD products. There are various products in the market, such as CBD oil, CBD capsules, CBD soft candy, skin care products, electronic cigarette oil, pet products, etc.

3. Thailand - medical marijuana legal

On December 25, 2018, Thailand's national legislative assembly passed a resolution to amend the country's anti drug law to legalize the production, import, export, possession and use of marijuana for medical purposes. Among them, 166 votes supported the resolution, 0 against it and 13 abstained.

The passage of this Bill marks the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical marijuana. If consumers have a medical prescription or license issued by the state, they can obtain medical marijuana.

In fact, in recent years, the Thai government has been reducing penalties for marijuana related crimes. In January 2017, the Thai government decriminalized marijuana. Thailand will implement an amnesty for marijuana related crimes in 2019, with more than 30000 people applying for amnesty.

4. Philippines - medical marijuana becomes legal

In 2016, President duterte said in an interview that "if the ingredients of medical marijuana can be proved to be effective in treating advanced cancer and other difficult diseases, and patients do not have other treatment options, they are not opposed to the use of medical marijuana.". On January 29, 2019, members of the Philippine house of Representatives passed a medical marijuana bill. The bill allows the use of marijuana for severe chronic pain, nausea and epilepsy.

5. Malaysia - CBD goods for sale

The Malaysian government allows the production of cannabis for research purposes, but only for fiber and seeds. It is illegal to grow and process marijuana for medical or commercial purposes. However, distributors and companies authorized by the government can sell CBD after a series of strict tests and legal requirements are met.

6. Israel - adult marijuana legal

Israel approved the legalization of medical marijuana more than ten years ago, and the research on marijuana industry has been in the forefront of the world. On December 27, 2018, the Israeli parliament passed a bill to allow the export of medical marijuana. On April 1, 2019, Israel legalized the use of adult marijuana.

7. India - committed to medical marijuana research

In 1985, India began to implement the narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances act, which prohibited the cultivation, processing, possession and use of cannabis. Since then, cannabis has been banned in India. However, in recent years, the Indian government is supporting scientists to carry out research on hemp extract, which is expected to be used in diseases such as cancer, diabetes and epilepsy. It is believed that India can soon legalize medical marijuana.

(2020 Asian key hemp market valuations, source: who)

At present, the largest consumption market of marijuana is in North America, while the application of marijuana in Asia is relatively lagging behind and there are relatively more restrictions. However, with a population of more than 4.1 billion, Asia has great potential for development.

It is believed that in the next five to ten years, with the gradual implementation of industrial hemp application scenarios and the accelerating legalization process of medical marijuana, the size of the hemp market in Asia is expected to be close to or even surpass that in North America.


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