Is Cannabis Thailand’s Next Big Cash Crop?
You will be hardpressed to find a region on the planet that has historically been home to harsher cannabis laws than Southeast Asia. Of the seven countries that have imposed the death penalty for cannabis, over half of them are located in this region.
With that in mind, it was a very, very big deal when Thailand announced that it would become the first country in the region to legalize cannabis for medical use back in 2019.
When it was first announced, many cannabis advocates were understandably skeptical regarding how effective Thailand’s medical cannabis program would be given the history of the region.
However, Thailand is now home to one of the most progressive medical programs on earth, at least from a cultivation standpoint. Starting in March of this year, every household in Thailand can cultivate up to 6 plants.
To make it even better, families can form cultivation communities and sell their harvests to public hospitals and state facilities, and use their cannabis crops to make food and cosmetic products to sell.
In addition to helping suffering patients, the Thailand government sees cannabis as being a means for residents to boost their incomes, which was hammered home by recent comments from Thailand’s Health Minister. Per Pattaya Mail:
The Public Health Minister on Saturday visited a cannabis learning center in Bueng Kan province. He said in order to make cannabis production on par with the existing contracts, Thailand might have to have a central agency to collect the statistics of cannabis production and consumption.
He also cited that medicinal herb such as cannabis extracts and medication is becoming popular in Thailand, saying many shops and restaurants are incorporating cannabis in their menus.
In many ways, medical cannabis is being embraced by Thailand, and the country and its residents, especially suffering patients, will no doubt reap the rewards for decades to come as a result.
If/when medical cannabis proves to be an overwhelming success in Thailand hopefully it encourages other countries in the region to step up and get on the right side of history with their own cannabis laws.
Many areas in Southeast Asia are in desperate need of an economic boost. The cannabis industry can provide jobs, increased activity for local economies, and revenue for public coffers for all countries in Southeast Asia if given the chance.