The Thai Cannabis Boom

above Cannabis is to be removed from the list of Category 5 narcotics on June 9, 2022.

Cannabis is set to be removed from the list of Category 5 narcotics on June 9, allowing people to grow an unlimited number of plants at home.

The removal of cannabis as a narcotic does not mean that people can use it freely, especially for recreational purposes. Locally grown cannabis is only permitted for health and medical purposes, and people must first register the cultivation with provincial administrative organizations, or through the Pluk Kan mobile app, developed and operated by the Food and Drug Administration.

Despite the legal relaxation, extracts containing more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, will still be recognized as a Category 5 substance and regulated by laws relating to the control and suppression of narcotics.

Anyone intending to grow marijuana plants for commercial purposes will need to seek permission from the responsible authorities.

A cannabis plant grown at Maejo University in Chiang Mai.


BENEFITS FOR ALL

Sittichai Daengprasert, managing director of JSP Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (Thailand), a distributor of medicines and nutritional supplements, sees both villagers and business people benefiting from the growth of the cannabis industry, with potential for development later in various products.

Only oil extracted from marijuana with a THC content greater than 0.2% will be classified as a narcotic, which means other parts can be legally planted and marketed for medical, health-promoting and health-promoting purposes. ‘other activites.

Mr Sittichai said the move is expected to kick-start cannabis development across a range of industries, from medicine to cosmetics and food, marking a “new era” for the plant in Thailand.

While entrepreneurs will be able to start new businesses, the public now has new medical treatment options that could help them save money, he said.

Cannabidiol (CBD) oil extracted from cannabis can be used for the treatment of many ailments.

The CBD oil market is worth an estimated 100 billion baht, according to JSP.

“Individuals or companies wishing to do business involving marijuana planting and oil extraction can register online or through a mobile app,” Sittichai said.

“This will allow the government to regulate the industry.”

JSP and representatives of cannabis producers and factory operators recently met with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to discuss a proposal to reduce the legal procedures required to operate cannabis

Cannabis-infused beverages are displayed at the opening of the Department of Public Health’s Medical Cannabis Institute. Pornprom Satrabhaya

businesses.

Relaxing those rules should help community businesses that plant marijuana and supply it to factories, Sittichai said.

At the meeting, participants suggested that the government allow companies that hold Good Manufacturing Practices and International Organization for Standardization certifications to increase the CBD oil content in their medicines and nutritional supplements to more than legal limit of 75 parts per million for export purposes.

Other countries have a high content of CBD oil in their products.

“A higher CBD content will allow Thailand to have a competitive advantage because we can grow the raw material [marijuana] and we have a lot of them,” he said.

JSP is in talks with cannabis and hemp associations on the proposal to set median prices for plants and their extracted substances to avoid a price war, which will directly affect farmers.

“Everyone agrees with this proposal and is preparing to discuss further details,” Sittichai said.

“This will ensure fair prices in the market and prevent large, wealthy companies from buying plants in huge quantities.”

Five major SET-listed companies have diversified into the cannabis sector. It is feared that their entry into the market will affect small and medium-sized enterprises, ultimately resulting in a market monopoly.

right CBD oil from cannabis on display at a ganja and hemp exhibition. Bangkok Post


RIGHT HIT

Sanan Angubolkul, president of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said that although Thailand is an agricultural country, most farmers own relatively small plots of land.

The number of farmers is also decreasing as new generations migrate to the cities.

In addition, farmers face myriad challenges including climate change, volatile crop prices and a lack of knowledge on agricultural management and development, he said.

“Promoting cannabis cultivation in Thailand is the right move, as many countries around the world are trying to promote it as an economic crop,” Sanan said.

“The strong global demand for cannabis will help increase the incomes of Thai farmers and reduce inequalities in the agricultural sector.”

Visitors take photos of ganja plants at a ganja and hemp exhibition. Bangkok Post

However, he warned that attempts to promote cannabis as a cash crop will prove a challenge due to its narcotic reputation, which could raise doubts among the public.

All facets of cannabis applications, including cultivation, extraction, drugging, distribution, and monitoring laws and regulations, need to be clarified to enable better public understanding, Sanan said.

“All sectors need to discuss the establishment of a supervisory mechanism for self-monitoring of a network of farmers and government control measures to ensure strong law enforcement,” he said.

Boonyong Tansakul, chief executive of Zen Corporation Plc, the operator of Zen Japanese restaurants, said cannabis-related businesses are expected to see huge growth after the drug was removed from the list of Category 5 narcotics.

According to Boonyong, food and beverage operators are currently reluctant to diversify into using cannabis as an ingredient due to an uncertain supply.

“Demand for cannabis now far exceeds supply, leading to high prices. I believe more entrepreneurs will use cannabis as an ingredient in their food and beverages once cannabis production and supply increase” , did he declare.

“Removing cannabis from the list of Category 5 narcotics not only helps increase the growth of cannabis-related businesses, but also helps the overall economy, as the weed can provide new careers and income for farmers. “

GROW WITH THE FLOW

Kattikamas Thanyajaroen, managing director of Than Global Travel, a wholesaler that offers cannabis tours, said delisting cannabis as a narcotic would help boost international demand in Thailand.

However, she said the Ministry of Public Health must provide more details to limit the number of cannabis plants people can grow at home, as local commodity companies and operators who have already invested in the cannabis trade and obtaining permits will be directly affected by relaxation.

Ms Kattikamas said prices for fresh cannabis herbs had already fallen to 2,000-3,000 baht per kilogram from 15,000 baht.

Cannabis tour operators are likely to have more competition from new entrants with locally grown cannabis, but lack the legal knowledge to guide tourists, she said.

below, restaurants display menu items that use cannabis herb. Pornprom Satrabhaya

The ministry has regulated a guarantee stamp to prove that CBD products are under the 0.2% THC limit as recommended by the World Health Organization, which means that tourists can take home the products they want. they buy without incurring legal penalties.

Ms Kattikamas said 80% of cannabis tour customers are Thai, but operators expect more arrivals from investors, particularly from China, the United States, Japan and Malaysia, as well as from medical tourists after Thailand further eased pandemic restrictions on June 1.

The Omicron variant hampered the revival of tourist activity in the first quarter of this year, as people who had booked tours had to cancel at the last minute due to infections or being stuck in quarantine, it said. she declared.

Ms Kattikamas said Than Global Travel planned to introduce comprehensive cannabis packages by the end of this month, thanks to the hype generated by government legalization.

“After decriminalization, it is important to attract tourism demand to the country, especially for recreational purposes,” she said.

“The government could launch cannabis sandboxes in major destinations such as Phuket or Koh Phangan.”

Ms Kattikamas said tourists are encouraged to book cannabis tours through group tours to ensure they have the correct information and are supervised by travel experts.

Hemp tea is on display at a hemp and cannabis exhibition. Bangkok Post

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