Investors Face 10Bn Baht Loss if Cannabis Relisted As Narcotics

The Hemp and Cannabis Industry Association has issued a warning that if the government proceeds with its plan to reclassify cannabis and hemp as narcotics, businesses involved in the CBD sector could face a total loss of more than 10 billion baht in investments.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a vital component found in both cannabis and hemp, known for its medical advantages. Unlike THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, CBD does not cause consumers to feel mental euphoria.

During a press event on Friday, Tossaporn Nilkamhang, president of the association, reported that the registration of CBD products in the first quarter increased by 33% compared to last year.

The registrations totaled 707 products across categories like food supplements, herbal beverages, medicinal herbs, and cosmetics.

“If the government goes ahead with the plan to criminalise cannabis and hemp to curb the abuse, manufacturers and investors of these products could stand to lose over 10 billion baht of investment,” he said.

“The move will also affect the confidence of investors in the government’s future projects.”

The association also predicted that reclassifying these plants as narcotics could disrupt the plans of about one million applicants ready to register their CBD products.

Tossaporn called on the government to rethink this approach and collaborate with industry stakeholders to identify a mutually beneficial solution that positions cannabis and hemp as valuable economic crops, while also addressing concerns about drug misuse and child exposure.

He proposed that the government could regulate the usage of these plants by enacting the Cannabis and Hemp Act rather than opting for criminalization.

This process would provide an opportunity for industry stakeholders and the general public to express their views and concerns, and to offer input on the regulatory framework, Tossaporn added.

Initially, Tossaporn recommended that the act should specify that CBD products containing less than 0.2% THC should not be classified as narcotics, allowing them to be manufactured, marketed, and sold like regular health products.

Despite the legalization of cannabis in Thailand on June 9, 2022, the rules regarding public consumption and sales to minors and pregnant women remain strictly prohibited. The terms of cannabis use and possession limits continue to be hotly debated.