Thailand is aiming to become a hemp-production center, with hemp products expected to earn the country about USD 700,000 dollars in income over the next five years.
The Bangkok Post reports that according to Thailand’s Minister of Industry, Suriya Junggrungreangkit, these hemp products are also expected to create jobs throughout the supply chain.
The plan is part of a growing global trend of hemp production, which has been made possible by changes in the plant’s legal status in the United States, Canada, Australia, the EU, China, Japan, and South Korea.
While the Thai hemp industry was worth about USD 4 billion dollars in 2020, it is expected to reach annual earnings of about USD 15 billion dollars by 2027.
The Thai government will be supporting the hemp industry with a four-point plan that includes promotion and research, supporting small hemp businesses, marketing locally made products, and improving certification processes.
Modern uses for hemp go far beyond its traditional uses in fabric or paper: the plant is now used for purposes as varied as animal feed, beverages, cosmetics, and aviation.
While the legalization of recreational marijuana and commercial hemp is not always connected – as in South Korea, where hemp is legal but recreational cannabis is not.
Thailand’s legalization of the plant has included both hemp and recreational cannabis, however, certain aspects of the law remain unclear.
Could Laos Follow Suit?
Meanwhile, in Laos, no legal framework has yet been set up, with illegal cannabis farms routinely found and destroyed in outlying provinces.
Laos began studying the potential legalization of medicinal marijuana in 2019, but has not moved to legalize the drug for either medical or commercial use.