Thailand is set to open a specialized cannabis research facility as the country looks to bolster its position in the global race for cannabis tech leadership.
The facility, which will be housed under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MOAC), will focus on research into the cannabis genus with a view to developing new products and applications.
It is part of the Thai government’s wider plans to develop the country’s cannabis industry, which received a major boost last year when cannabis with a THC level below 0.2% was delisted from the nation’s narcotics list, according to reports.
“The goal of this facility is for it to be the centre of research and development for the cannabis genus, housed under MOAC, covering research into integrated production technology, refining guidelines for on-site preparation, delivering the best advice on storage and control of use for those requesting planting permits, and more,” MOAC Deputy Minister Mananya Thaiset said.
The government also announced, through Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, that it would be distributing one million free cannabis plants to households across the nation in June to mark the new rule allowing people to grow cannabis at home.
Cannabis has been used in Thailand for centuries, both medicinally and recreationally, and the country is now looking to leverage its experience and knowledge in the area to position itself as a major player in the global cannabis industry.
The MOAC has said that it will be working with universities, private companies, and research institutes both in Thailand and abroad to make the most of the country’s potential in this area.
“We think the market is going to grow quickly starting now. Thailand could be the cannabis tech hub, not just of Southeast Asia but of the world,” said Expara chief executive Douglas Abram, in an interview with the Bangkok Post.
With the legalization of medical cannabis in many countries around the world, and an increasing number of countries decriminalizing or legalizing recreational use, the global cannabis industry is expected to continue to grow rapidly in the coming years.
In fact, cannabis research firm Prohibition Partners has projected Asia’s legal cannabis market to reach $5.8 billion by 2024. Similarly, Future Food Asia estimates the total sector, which includes recreational marijuana and hemp, to be worth $12.5 billion by the same year.