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Amended Narcotics Act comes into effect, leaves door open for monopoly, say experts

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Amended Narcotics Act comes into effect, leaves door open for monopoly, say experts

By PRATCH RUJIVANAROM 
THE NATION

 

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Cannabis seedlings are cared for by a worker in a green house of the cannabis cultivating and processing plant of BOL Pharma – Revadim Industrial Centre in Lod, Israel. // EPA-EFE PHOTO

 

THE PROBLEM of illicit patent registration continues to linger, as academics believe the hasty legalisation of medical cannabis has opened up a legal loophole for big pharmaceutical firms to reverse the revocation of 10 controversial patent applications.

 

However, patients relying on cannabis-based medicines in Thailand are happy that cannabis for medical use is finally legal, thanks to the newly amended Narcotics Act, which came into effect yesterday. 

 

Yet, the benefits of this legislative reform could be adversely affected by the potential monopolisation of the medical-cannabis market, Panthep Puapongpan, dean of the Rangsit Institute of Integrative Medicine and Anti-Ageing, cautioned.

 

“Though it is good that cannabis for medical treatment is now legal in Thailand, the time frame of the legislation is totally inappropriate,” he said. 

 

“The NLA [National Legislative Assembly] has betrayed the public, because it broke its promise to not enforce the law before the legal process to remove all controversial cannabis medicine patent applications is completed.”

 

He pointed out that under the current legal conditions, transnational pharmaceutical giants will be able to turn the tables and undo the previous removal of patent registrations. This, he said, will allow these pharmaceutical giants to take over the local medical cannabis market and charge patients a very high price for their registered cannabis medicines. As per the National Council of Peace and Order (NCPO)’s order 1/2562, the Intellectual Property Department dismissed all ineligible patent applications for cannabis-based medicines since January 28. 

 

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Medical marijuana is packed by a worker at the cannabis cultivating and processing plant of BOL Pharma – Revadim Industrial Centre in Lod, Israel.// EPA-EFE PHOTO

 

Problematic applications

 

However, Panthep said these problematic applications have not been completely removed, as the applicants – Japan’s Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals – can still appeal their application’s dismissal within 60 days. 

 

Also, he said, the sudden legislation of medical cannabis has made the NCPO order invalid, as the order used an older version of the Narcotics Act – which outlaws all forms of cannabis consumption – to ban the patent registration. 

 

“The NLA should have waited until this 60-day period had expired before enforcing the new Narcotics Act, so these big pharmaceutical firms would not have a chance to appeal against the removal of their patent applications. Now, Thai patents are left defenceless,” he lamented. 

 

The amended Narcotics Act legalises the use of cannabis and kratom leaves for medical purposes, though it still reserves some restrictions on the consumption, possession, planting and research of these herbs. Only licensed persons are allowed to legally use cannabis or kratom for medical purposes, while the consumption or sale of the two herbs for recreational use is still punishable by law. 

 

Under the amended law, punishment for the possession of no more than 10 kilograms of cannabis for recreational use is five years in jail and/or a fine of Bt100,000, while the recreational use of kratom is punishable by a Bt2,000 fine. 

 

However, those caught in possession of more than 10kg of cannabis will be charged with drug trafficking and face up to 15 years in jail and/or up to Bt1.5 million in fine, while the offence for selling kratom is two years in prison and/or a Bt100,000 in fine. 

 

As for those who had cannabis or kratom-based medicine before the amended law was enforced, they are required to register with the Food and Drug Administration within 90 days, or the medication in their possession will be considered illegal narcotics. 

 

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/detail/national/30364421

 

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 -- © Copyright The Nation 2019-02-20

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4 hours ago, webfact said:

Under the amended law, punishment for the possession of no more than 10 kilograms of cannabis for recreational use is five years in jail and/or a fine of Bt100,000

what was it before?

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Follow the money, they would sell their own mother down the river for a quick profit. 

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5 hours ago, webfact said:

the sudden legislation of medical cannabis has made the NCPO order invalid, as the order used an older version of the Narcotics Act – which outlaws all forms of cannabis consumption – to ban the patent registration. 

No, the legislation is immediately nullified by the NCPO order which has constitutional legality. In effect the new law is unconstitutional and unenforceable. Prayut must (as he has done before) withdraw the NCPO Order to allow the new law to be legal and enforceable.

5 hours ago, webfact said:

This, he said, will allow these pharmaceutical giants to take over the local medical cannabis market and charge patients a very high price for their registered cannabis medicines.

The government adds medical cannabis to its product price control list as a medicine.

Problem solved.

This action would be consistent with the government that added medicines to its price control list in January 2019. https://www.chiangraitimes.com/medical-supplies-services-drugs-now-under-price-control-in-thailand.html

Failure to take such action could imply collaboration between the government and Pharmaceuticals as to product pricing on an open market without pricing controls.

 

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1 hour ago, Srikcir said:

No, the legislation is immediately nullified by the NCPO order which has constitutional legality. In effect the new law is unconstitutional and unenforceable. Prayut must (as he has done before) withdraw the NCPO Order to allow the new law to be legal and enforceable.

The government adds medical cannabis to its product price control list as a medicine.

Problem solved.

This action would be consistent with the government that added medicines to its price control list in January 2019. https://www.chiangraitimes.com/medical-supplies-services-drugs-now-under-price-control-in-thailand.html

Failure to take such action could imply collaboration between the government and Pharmaceuticals as to product pricing on an open market without pricing controls.

 

Spot on. Unfortunately, giant pharmaceutical companies have greater international lobbying power than millions of Thais who would benefit from local control of patents.

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7 hours ago, ukrules said:

Thailand was too short sighted to do this on its own so it loses out.

 

This is what you get when you have overly restrictive laws : NOTHING

 

Try again in 20 or 25 years when the patents have expired.

Yeah, they should treat in the same competitive, free market way they treat alcohol.  😅

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It amazes me how the pharmaceutical companies in America have convinced the federal government and the world that Cannabis had no medical use. Now that studies in states where it is legal have shown this to be completely false. Millions of people are in prison because of a few corporations testimonies. Violent Mexican cartels have become rich, many people have been killed. Violence has destroyed many lives...  Never trust some study in America that claims some link to fear and hysteria. You will be a sucker.

Edited by Winky Wilson

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