Singapore, Where Pot Possession Could Mean Death Penalty, Will Research Cannabis

Tourists take pictures next to the Merlion statue in the central business district of Singapore. (File image via Reuters)
Tourists take pictures next to the Merlion statue in the central business district of Singapore. (File image via Reuters)

In Singapore, the possession of marijuana could land a harsh sentence including the death penalty. But the growing trend of marijuana legalization is changing the status quo in the southeast Asian country.

The Sun Daily reported on Thursday that Singapore is set to develop synthetic medicinal cannabinoids as part of its new Synthetic Cannabinoid Biology Program.

The local daily said the program has S$25 million or $23.6 million (CDN) in research funding over the course of five years, with the aim to “unlock the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids” found in marijuana. 

A cannabinoid is one feature in a class of diverse chemical compounds, which includes the psychoactive compound THC, and the phytocannabinoid CBD, most commonly used in medical applications. They are accepted by cannabinoid receptors in cells that alter neurotransmitter release in the brain, offering healing and soothing effects for those suffering injuries or pain. 

The Straits Times of Singapore, meanwhile, said the research will be done on the chemical compounds found in cannabis with none of the negative side effects and social ills, choosing a tone reflective of the country’s strict rules over marijuana. 

The import or export of more than 500 grams may result in the death penalty in Singapore.

The growing legalization of marijuana started in Uruguay when it became the first country ever to legalize cannabis last year. Also, Canada this summer is expected to be the first developed nation ever to legalize the drug.

More and more countries are showing interest in legalizing cannabis, at least medically.

Recently, a Thai agriculture official gave a green signal over the legalization of medical marijuana, arguing that his country is losing an edge in its herbal medical exports.

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