BANGKOK, Thailand — Unwilling to allow the public to get zonked or profit from recreational marijuana, Thailand has instead produced its first pharmaceutical THC and CBD oils, tablets, oral sprays, chocolate wafers and traditional potions after recently legalizing medical cannabis.
This first line of weed-based products puts Thailand on the cutting edge of Southeast Asia’s legal marijuana industry, a lucrative advantage if allowed to flourish.
If recreational marijuana is legalized and freely grown, it would create an extremely profitable domestic and international market possibly bigger than this mostly agricultural country’s rice, sugar cane, or tapioca crops.
South Korea is ahead of Thailand in producing legal medical cannabis products for domestic use.
India offers relatively small, decades-old legal «bhang» sales for recreational use solely within that country and made from otherwise illegal marijuana.
Proud of the tiny amount they created, the government organized a visit for journalists on August 2 to Rangsit University’s new, sparsely equipped Medical Cannabis Research Institute in the College of Pharmacy.
University staff unlocked a gray metal safe and displayed 40 kilograms (88 pounds) of dried marijuana confiscated by police during drug busts. Each rectangular kilogram of «cannabis raw material» was hard-pressed and wrapped in clear plastic.
A few months ago, officials said confiscated marijuana was useless for medical purposes because it was often contaminated with insecticide, fertilizer, heavy metals or fungus.
Researchers realized however they had to use illegal weed because Thailand was unable to quickly grow enough marijuana under strict purity controls.