Status of Cannabis in Thailand
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13th November 2020

Status of Cannabis in Thailand

Waylon Cameron
Thailand was the first country to legalize medicinal cannabis in Asia. In 2019, medicinal cannabis was legalized in Bangkok, but other uses were not. If you are found smoking cannabis without prescription, you risk being charged. The latest investment rush is mostly in the area of infrastructure for the state-controlled research.

Thailand is on course to compete in the growing Asian medicinal cannabis sector. However, recent studies have shown that free access for private firms is unlikely to be in place before 2024. According to a study by Cannabis Catalysts, Thai has a huge potential for medicinal cannabis. The cannabis sector is defined by fast legislative reforms and a high level of tariff barriers.

Current Regulations

Although the fundamental cannabis policies were released shortly after the resolutions, there are no specific laws. Most elements of the legal processes have not yet been established. This slows down the creation of a proper supply chain infrastructure. There is a huge demand for medicinal cannabis, but the current supply is inadequate.

Current development

A law that will allow ordinary citizens to cultivate six trees for medicinal use is expected to be tabled in the parliament. Private companies are required to work with licensed state institutions like hospitals, universities, and government agencies. They also need to be registered in Thailand, and they must offer 65% of the ownership to Thai citizens to be allowed to work with a state agency.

Expected Legislation

Thailand has the potential to produce cannabis in a large-scale if it can partner with the private sector without tough conditions. Commercial production of cannabis will contribute to the country's GDP and act as a source of employment for the citizens. The government has also sped up its efforts to legalize medical cannabis, which will eventually allow its citizens to grow cannabis and sell it to the state. It has also started amending laws to allow for the free use of medicinal cannabis. It's optimistic that cannabis will be one of the main agricultural commodities.

Current development

Status of Cannabis in Thailand

Besides the major efforts for "home grow" rules, Bangkok has set up the biggest plant in Southeast Asia for processing medicinal cannabis. In 2019, scientists at Maejo University planted over 11,000 new cannabis seedlings. These seedlings were planted in the northern part of the country. The researchers expect to harvest the plant for medical cannabis after six months.

The government has established a specialized cannabis clinic at Bangkok center. This is the first specialized marijuana clinic in Thailand and it observes Thai's regulations of medical cannabis. The facility provides cannabis oil that cures joint problems and cancer. In fact, over four hundred patients visited the clinic when it was opened the first time. According to the state's health ministry, the government is planning to open more than 70 marijuana clinics throughout Thailand.

Nonetheless, before the Thai people raise their optimism over a possible "green rush," experts have warned that not all mature plants will produce medicinal cannabis. Experts also caution that medical-grade marijuana is hard to grow, hence inexperienced growers will produce low-quality cannabis. It therefore means that if you do not take the trouble to take care of the plants, your produce will not be eligible for medicinal use hence the government will not buy it.

Thailand has the potential to generate more revenue from cannabis once the sector is fully liberalized. But, as the whole world races to capitalize on the cannabis, Thai will face competition from other countries.

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