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Thailand sees boom in cannabis industry after law change

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Since cannabis was removed from the list of banned narcotics, the Southeast Asian country has seen an explosion in cannabis products. New supply chains are rapidly emerging with products based on cannabis and its derivatives, from hot sauce and gummy bears to cannabis tea and pre-rolled cigarettes. Thailand removed marijuana from its list of banned narcotics on June 9, simply to make the plant more accessible to growers and consumers of cannabis products for medicinal or culinary purposes. Recreational smoking of the drug remains illegal. Nonetheless, recreational use has also taken off throughout Southeast Asian countries, fueling a burgeoning business of cannabis flowers, cookies and drinks that police can't stop under current drug laws. For many young people, cannabis products provide a much-needed source of income in the wake of the collapse of the tourism industry. So far, tens of thousands of small farmers have registered to legally grow marijuana, and sources say many more are trying it out on unregistered family farms. But the relative freedom that has made Thailand the most open cannabis regime in Asia may be short-lived. With a marijuana bill due to be introduced in parliament in the coming weeks, politicians are under pressure to curb or even ban recreational use and ensure that marijuana does not reach children. Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul clarified last week that the relaxation of the law was for medical purposes.

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