Thailand legalizes medical marijuana
Thailand legalizes medical marijuana

Thailand May Be First Asian Nation To Legalize Cannabis

Medical Marijuana Would Come First For Thailand

Posted by:
DanaSmith on Friday Jul 20, 2018

Thailand May Be First Asian Nation To Legalize Cannabis



Thailand may be next in the latest round of countries joining the ranks of those who have turned a new leaf, reports Bloomberg.


If they succeed, the Asian nation known for its harsh drug policies may be the first in the region to legalize cannabis for medical use – but only for economic purposes. The Bloomberg article states that Thailand was one of the world’s biggest exporters of pot in the 1890’s, and they want to be able to enjoy the fruits of a potential $10-billion-dollar cannabis market.

Thailand’s Government Pharmaceutical Organization (GPO), which is overseen by the Ministry of Public Health, is working on convincing the military government to permit the research of cannabis in order to market it for its therapeutic benefits.


“The best strains of cannabis in the world 20 years ago were from Thailand, and now Canada has developed this strain until up to this day, we can’t claim that ours is the best in the world anymore,” says Dr. Nopporn Cheanklin, the GPO’s executive managing director. “That’s why we must develop our strain to be able to compete with theirs.”


Even if Thailand allows the testing of medical cannabis on humans, the government will still rule with an iron first when it comes to drug trafficking. Currently, Thai law states that cannabis is still illegal no matter what it’s used for, and anyone caught in possession of pot can land a 15-year jail time.


“If it’s proven that the medicines could cure diseases like Parkinson’s disease, cancer, depression, then I believe it’s a benefit and could create revenue if we export the medicines out to sell in other countries,” says Office of the Narcotics Control Board’s Deputy Secretary-General Wichai Chaimongkhon.


The National Legislative Assembly is currently debating the bill, but they are expected to approve the regulations by April 2019. The National Farmers Council (NFC) also discussed with the Office of Narcotics Board (ONCB) the possibility of assigning certain areas for growing cannabis. The Bangkok Post reports that both parties initially considered 1,977 acres of land located in a military compound at Sakon Nakhon Province, because this is where cultivation can easily be regulated and monitored. The area is found northeast of the Isan region, which was chosen for its excellent climate and fertile soil, ideal for cannabis cultivation. Thailand already enjoys the upper hand for cultivation because of its tropical climate, which could translate to savings in costs for temperature controls and artificial light. Their historical success in cultivating cannabis is also well-known.


Should Thailand pass the legislation, they will become the first country in Asia to join the $12.9 billion global legal cannabis market that is currently being dominated by Canada and the United States.


Changing Laws


“It does seem hypocritical and cynical to be legalizing medical cannabis but maintaining harsh punishment for recreational users,” Steve Rolles wrote to Bloomberg. Rolles is the senior policy analyst for the Transform Drug Policy Foundation in the United Kingdom. “The punitive model is symptomatic of a wider problem with entrenched prohibitionist thinking; it’s proving hard to shake off despite the obvious cost and evidence of failure.”


In May this year, the cabinet of ministers under the military government approved the decision to amend the current drug laws in order to make way for legally researching how cannabis works in the human body.

Arcview Market Research currently predicts the global cannabis market to be worth $23 million by 2022, with 22% as the annual growth rate.


“It will be important for new market entrants like Thailand to get established quickly, however, or existing players like Canada and the US will use their historical advantage to capture and dominate the market sector,” Rolles writes.

The lower cost of cultivation and production in Thailand could also make it a more attractive option for investors and foreign producers. “No other country offers the combination of benefits that Thailand offers within a single jurisdiction,” says Jim Plamondon, VP of Marketing for Thai Cannabis Corp. The company is the first legal cannabis entity in Thailand, and based on their website they are currently working with the Maejo University to create medicines and products from pot. “Thailand has not only the large medical tourism industry, it also has an unparalleled system of traditional medicine that is regulated and standardized.”


Thailand May Be First Asian Nation To Legalize Marijuana from CannabisNet on Vimeo.








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