Thailand’s cannabis industry faces an uncertain future as the Move Forward Party plans to return cannabis to the control list.

Key Takeaways

  • Thailand’s cannabis industry is facing uncertainty as the government-in-waiting plans to return cannabis to the control list, potentially sending the industry from boom to bust.
  • The Thai cannabis market was worth 28 billion baht ($800 million) at the end of 2022 and projected to grow to 31.8 billion baht this year.
  • The Move Forward Party, which won the May 14 election, plans to introduce legislation that would prevent negative public perceptions and provide compensation for authorized operators.

Thailand was one of the first countries in Southeast Asia to legalise cannabis for medical and research purposes in 2018. This move sparked hopes for a booming cannabis industry that could benefit local farmers and entrepreneurs. However, recent developments have cast doubt on the future of this promising sector.

Recreational cannabis use under scrutiny

Thailand’s Move Forward Party (MFP) is leading the drive to rein in recreational cannabis use, casting a pall over the country’s multibillion-dollar cannabis industry, one year after the plant was decriminalized.

MFP’s Pita Limjaroenrat has called for a pause on recreational use of cannabis until the incoming government can pass a proposed Cannabis Act to draw clear lines on where the drug can be sold and consumed. However, the legal uncertainty has sapped confidence in an industry that flourished in the year following decriminalization, and investors are worried about the clouds gathering over their industry.

Lack of clarity

Today the cannabis industry in Thailand is under threat, and industry insiders are calling on the government to provide guidelines so that businesses can operate with certainty. This lack of clarity could have a severe impact on the industry’s growth, and it remains to be seen whether the government will provide a framework that allows the industry to thrive.

More than a million people have applied to grow cannabis, while authorities have granted 1.1 million licenses to produce or sell cannabis-related products. The market was worth 28 billion baht ($800 million) at the end of 2022 and projected to grow to 31.8 billion baht this year. By 2025, the market will be worth 42.9 billion baht.

Despite these challenges, there are still opportunities for the cannabis industry in Thailand, particularly in the medical cannabis market. Thailand was the first country in Southeast Asia to legalize medical cannabis, and the government has made it clear that it sees the industry as a strategic priority. This could lead to significant investment in the medical cannabis market, which is expected to be worth $237.8 billion globally by 2027.

About the author

Bangkok Correspondent at Siam News Network

Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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