To promote development of medical cannabis products, Thailand has removed low-level cannabis and hemp extracts from its banned substances list. Thailand also legalized medical cannabis last year.
Extracts from cannabis and hemp containing less than 0.2 percent THC have been removed from the Category 5 scheduling. Under Thailand’s Measure for Suppressing Narcotic Offenders Act, Category 5 contains psychedelic mushrooms, cannabis and kratom, and Category 5 offenses are punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine of up 1.5 million baht (or almost $50,000 USD).
“The intention is to allow extracts to be used in medicine, cosmetics and food and support hemp as a cash crop,” Tares Krassanairawiwong, Secretary-General of the Food and Drug Administration in Thailand said.
Currently, only hospitals and research facilities are allowed to apply for licenses to develop medical cannabis extracts. Licenses aren’t yet available for businesses. In August, the Public Health Ministry of Thailand officially delivered its first shipment of cannabis oil to local hospitals. Thai lawmakers are also considering an amendment to the Narcotics Act that would allow for the growth of up to six cannabis plants at home.
Cannabis production, cultivation and sale will be limited to licensed Thai producers or five years to protect the domestic industry. Roughly 334 permits have been issued, mainly to hospitals and health agencies.
Thailand’s cannabis market is projected to reach $660 million by 2024 according to analysis firm Prohibition Partners. The Thai political party Bhumjaithai has become the first major political party to endorse legalizing recreational cannabis, calling it a cash crop and citing California’s market as the ideal model for their own cannabis industry.
“Marijuana will be able to generate additional income to farmers because overseas the price is as high as 70,000 baht ($2,230USD) per kg,” the party said.