Singapore is known for having some of the harshest anti-drug laws in the entire world. And yet, it turns out that even they see the benefits of medical marijuana.

Singapore’s National Research Foundation (NRF) announced earlier this month their intent to invest in synthetic cannabinoids as part of a $19 million project focused on synthetic biology. The country is looking to create a "bio-based economy," that will create jobs in sustainable industries. The NRF said they plan to produce strains of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, from marijuana plants to treat conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

All drugs are illegal in Singapore and often carry much stiffer penalties than in the rest of the world. In fact, drug trafficking can lead to a death sentence if a person exceeds a certain threshold. 

It's unclear if this move signals a changing opinion on marijuana and cannabis in the country. They're not moving to sell or grow actual marijuana plants and products, only synthetic versions of it. But it's still an acknowledgement that there are properties of cannabis that can be helpful for people dealing with various ailments.

Perhaps in the future we'll live in a world where Singapore has more open laws towards marijuana than the United States government.

(h/t Quartz)