BANGKOK, THAILAND — According to government officials, Thailand has officially declassified low-level cannabis and hemp extracts from the official list of narcotics.
The key term here is low level — essentially, any cannabis- or hemp-derived product with less than 0.2% THC. Previously, such cannabis extracts had been classified as Category 5 narcotics, where possession could earn you up to 15 years in prison and a hefty fine.
Thailand’s move to update the legality of cannabis extracts aligns with the country’s goal of developing cutting edge medicinal cannabis products. As a matter of fact, medicinal use of cannabis was legalized in 2018.
Currently, cannabis production is limited to a small handful of licensed domestic producers with little to no competition. That said, the government is looking at the possibility of an independent business being able to apply for a cannabis license.
Recreational use of cannabis extracts and products in general still remains completely illegal in Thailand. Thus, access to cannabis extracts remains tightly regulated and requires proper approval from one’s physician.
Last month, for the first time ever, 10,000 bottles of cannabis oil were delivered to patients across Thailand. Thailand’s decision to change the legal environment has spurred international investment interest since 2018.
U.S.-based cannabidiol (CBD) producer C-Beyond Health Inc. has shown great optimism in Thailand’s budding cannabis market by already investing in 400 acres of land on Thai soil for hemp production. Even venture capital firms have displayed interest in Thailand’s cannabis industry.
Thailand sits in a pretty good position as of today. The country has begun laying the groundwork for a fruitful and successful cannabis market by legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis as well as generating foreign investment interest.
Only time will tell if Thailand will be able to build a cannabis market like we have here in the United States.
Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Nir Elias