Cannabis Decriminalization Brings Vast Opportunities for Farmers and Businesspeople

Cannabis will be removed from the Category 5 narcotics list on Thursday, allowing people to grow unlimited plants at home.

However, the legal easing does not mean cannabis can be used freely or for recreation. According to the new decree, its use has only been authorized for medical and health purposes for those who duly register their crops in the corresponding provincial administrative organizations.

People expecting to grow marijuana plants legally can also register through the Pluk Kan mobile app, operated by the Food and Drug Administration. All those who cultivate cannabis for commercial purposes must obtain the necessary permits through the responsible authorities.

Also, cannabis extracts with more than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound, will still be classified as a Category 5 substance regulated by the narcotics control and suppression laws.

However, authorities’ decision to decriminalize cannabis cultivation for medicinal and health use opens up a range of business opportunities for entrepreneurs and growers.

Sittichai Daengprasert, medicine and nutritional supplement distributor JSP Pharmaceutical Manufacturing (Thailand)’s chief executive, believes that both entrepreneurs and villagers can benefit from the cannabis industry growth and exploit the potential to develop various cannabis-based products.

According to Mr. Sittichai, cannabis can be used in several industries ranging from food to cosmetics. JSP stated that the market for cannabidiol (CBD) oil alone, used as a treatment for many ailments, is worth an estimated 100 billion baht.

Other countries massively produce high-CBD products. Therefore, higher CBD content will help Thailand have a competitive advantage as it can grow enough raw material, Mr. Sittichai added.

Meanwhile, JSP and cannabis farmers and factory operators representatives recently met with Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul to discuss a plan aimed at reducing the legal procedures required to operate cannabis businesses and allowing companies that hold Good Manufacturing Practice and International Organization for Standardization certifications to increase the CBD oil content in their medicines and nutritional supplements.

Thai Chamber of Commerce’s chairman Sanan Angubolkul said: “Promoting cannabis cultivation in Thailand is the correct move as many countries around the world moves to push it as an economic crop.”

Mr. Sanan explained that the strong global demand for cannabis could increase Thai farmers’ income and reduce inequality in Thailand’s agricultural sector.

But he stated that authorities need to clarify all facets of cannabis applications, from cultivation to supervision regulations, to provide a better public understanding.

Boonyong Tansakul, chief executive of Zen Corporation Plc, the operator behind Japanese Zen restaurants, also said he expected cannabis-related businesses to see tremendous growth from Thursday.

He added that more business operators should use cannabis as an ingredient in their food and beverages once cannabis production and supply increase.

Kattikamas Thanyajaroen, executive officer of Than Global Travel, a wholesale operator that offers cannabis tours, spoke about how delisting cannabis as a narcotic would help stimulate international demand in Thailand and suggested that Public Health Ministry establish more details to limit the number of plants that a person can grow at home.

She argued that operators who have already invested in the cannabis business and received permits would be directly affected by the relaxation, as fresh cannabis leaves on the market are already down.