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Thailand legislature legalises medical cannabis and kratom | Thailand News

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Thailand’s legislature has agreed to amend the country’s drug law to allow the licensed medical use of cannabis, as well as kratom, a locally grown plant traditionally used as a stimulant and painkiller.

The Thai legislation on Tuesday passed its final reading at the National Legislative Assembly by a vote of 166-0 with 13 abstentions.

“This is a New Year’s gift from the National Legislative Assembly to the government and the Thai people,” said Somchai Sawangkarn, chairperson of the drafting committee, in a televised parliamentary session.

The changes, which become law when published in the Royal Gazette, legalise the production, import, export, possession and use of cannabis and kratom products for medical purposes.

Purveyors, producers and researchers will need licenses to handle the drugs, while end-users will need prescriptions.

Thailand is the first country to take such action in Southeast Asia, a region with some of the world’s strictest drug laws. The move is under consideration in neighbouring Malaysia, while New Zealand’s government earlier this month enacted a law liberalising the medical use of cannabis, which had previously been tightly restricted.

Recreational use of the drugs remains illegal in Thailand and subject to prison terms and fines commensurate with the quantities involved.

Public hearings showed overwhelming support for the measure.

The bill introducing the legislative changes had noted that recent studies have shown that cannabis extract has medicinal benefits, which has prompted “many countries around the world to ease their laws by enacting legal amendments to allow their citizens to legally use kratom and marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes”.

It added that despite being classified as an illegal drug, many patients have used cannabis to treat their diseases. 

Patent requests controversy

While countries from Colombia to Canada have legalised cannabis for medical or even recreational use, the drug remains illegal and taboo across much of Southeast Asia, which has some of the world’s harshest punishments for drug law violations.

Cannabis traffickers can be subject to the death penalty in Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia.

But in Thailand, the main controversy with legalisation involved patent requests by foreign firms that could allow them to dominate the market, making it harder for Thai patients to access medicines and for Thai researchers to access cannabis extracts.

“We’re going to demand that the government revoke all these requests before the law takes effect,” Panthep Puapongpan, dean of the Rangsit Institute of Integrative Medicine and Anti-Aging, was quoted as saying by Reuters news agency.

Some said they hoped Tuesday’s approval would pave the way for legalisation for recreational use.

“This is the first baby step forward,” said Chokwan Chopaka, an activist with Highland Network, a cannabis legalization advocacy group in Thailand.

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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