Southeast Asia’s medical cannabis market could be worth billions

Among the many countries in Asia that plan to introduce medical cannabis laws in the near future, Thailand stands to be the biggest game player of them all

Bethan Rose Jenkins, Cannabis News Writer/Editorial

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Thailand is getting serious about medical cannabis. According to vice president of Thai Cannabis Corp, Jim Plamondon. The Southeast Asia nation’s medical cannabis industry could be worth $4 billion within a decade.

When Thailand unveils its draft law to broaden the kingdom’s medical cannabis regulations, executives believe it could lure in investors from all corners of the globe.

The draft narcotics code has been in progress since last year. It will allow Southeast Asia medical cannabis research to be conducted on humans.

Thailand’s medical cannabis industry will rival others in South Asia

Bangkok Post released information stating that the law will initially be overseen by the country’s cabinet.  Once analyzed, the draft law for medical cannabis in Thailand will be passed on to the National Legislative Assembly.

“Any company that is participating in the global cannabis industry should consider being among the first to move the least-profitable links in its global supply chain to Thailand,” said Plamondon.

“The money it saves by doing so can be invested in moving up the value chain towards establishing consumer brands because that’s where the big money will be … because that’s where the big money always is,” he added.

This latest move indicates that South Asia is committed to building a lucrative medical cannabis industry. Within a single decade, the medical cannabis industry in the Southeast Asia nation could top $4 billion. Among the many countries in Asia that plan to introduce similar laws in the near future, Thailand stands to be the biggest game player of them all.

“Thailand is moving fastest among Asian nations to legalize cannabis, albeit in a very step-by-step manner,” Plamondon stated.

Thailand’s medical cannabis laws for medicinal purposes by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), cannabis remains a drug under Thai law. However, a recent Phuket poll showed how 50 percent of respondents want the drug to be made legal.

Cannabis cultivated in Thailand for medical purposes must contain no more than 1 percent THC. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is cannabis’ psychoactive compound, known for its mind-altering effects.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is another cannabis compound. Medically potent, this cannabinoid is non-psychoactive. Last year, hemp cultivation was permitted in 23 designated districts throughout nine Thai provinces. Hemp plants contain much lower traces of THC than cannabis.

R&D will promote the biotech industry in Southeast Asia

In a bid to raise awareness about Southeast Asia medical cannabis and the nation’s biotech industry, the National Research Foundation has launched a new program.  Operated by the government, this foundation manages national research and development for medicinal cannabis.

As much as $25 million will be funneled into the program, which will discover more about the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.