Thailand’s parliament has voted to approve cannabis for medical use, with a key lawmaker calling it a “New Year’s gift” to the Thai people. Recreational use will remain illegal.

Marijuana was used in Thailand as a traditional medicine, until it was banned in the 1930s.

South East Asia has some of the world’s toughest penalties for drug usage or possession, and Thailand is the first in the region to allow medicinal marijuana.

Thailand’s junta-appointed parliament voted to amend the Narcotic Act of 1979 on Tuesday.

It happened after an extra-parliamentary session was arranged to push bills through before the New Year’s holidays.

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ZIMENE MUMAKONDA

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