Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries in America for good reason. Barely a decade old, the industry has generated billions of dollars in sales revenue, created hundreds of thousands of new employment opportunities and filled state coffers with billions in tax revenue. Other territories and countries are adopting cannabis reform and launching legal markets, and they are starting to cash in on the lucrative cannabis market.
Thailand, which recently decriminalized the private cultivation of cannabis and sanctioned the use of cannabis leaves and extracts in foods, drinks and cosmetics, is beginning to rake in profits from the cannabis market. Consumer demand for cannabis products exploded as soon as the country lifted restrictions on cannabis, with Thai companies earning big bucks from the sale of products such as cannabis-infused skin-care products, bubble tea and desserts.
Thailand was the first Asian country to decriminalize the private cultivation and consumption of the entire cannabis plant. It was also the first nation in southeast Asia to legalize cannabis for medical use and research when it passed medical marijuana regulations in 2018. Thailand’s medical cannabis industry has boomed since then, and officials are hoping to turn the country’s cannabis industry into a money-making machine.
According to Thai Health Minister Anutin Charvirakul, Thailand’s cannabis industry is projected to achieve a valuation of more than $4.33 billion in the next five years. Speaking to Reuters, he said that his wish was for people to get rich from selling cannabis products in a positive way. A major driver behind cannabis reform in the country, Charvirakul emphasizes that his cannabis policy only involves healthcare and medical purposes.
Charvirakul stated that anything beyond medical use was inappropriate and that the country needed laws to control cannabis use. Thailand’s government even issued new cannabis regulations after decriminalization reforms led to fears that there were no restrictions on age and public use. The new regulations restricted cannabis use to people older than 20 years old as well as forbidding minors, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers from smoking cannabis; the regulations also ban all public smoking of the drug.
Since recreational cannabis isn’t legal under Thai law, commercial cannabis products can only contain cannabidiol (CBD). Unlike THC, cannabidiol is not psychoactive and will not make users feel high. For products to be approved, they have to contain less than 0.2% THC. Charvirakul states that due to public health laws, recreational cannabis use isn’t permitted in the country.
As more countries ease their restrictions on marijuana, companies with a transnational focus such as Flora Growth Corp (NASDAQ: FLGC) may have opportunities to spread their wings beyond the North American market.
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