Medicinal cannabis market to surpass $237 million in Thailand by 2024
A Thai health official displays confiscated marijuana bring prepared for medical research at the Government Pharmaceutical Organization in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 25, 2018. EPA-EFE FILE/RUNGROJ YONGRIT
Bangkok, May 10 (efe-epa).- Thailand's medicinal cannabis industry is expected to be worth $237.2 million over the next five years, according to a report published on Friday by a specialized consultancy firm.
The London-based Prohibition Partners added in its "Asian Cannabis Report" that the value of recreational marijuana could reach $424.1 million if it were also legalized in the Southeast Asian country.
Thailand is the only Asian nation – apart from Israel – that has legalized the therapeutic use of cannabis, a landmark decision that became effective in February of this year.
Thai authorities have licensed two cannabis plantations and two official research centers, although the sale and prescription of the drug are not yet completely legal as the exact regulations still need to be specified over the coming months.
Prohibition Partners, which lobbies for the total legalization of the entheogenic plant, also predicted that the regulated sale of weed could reach up to $8.5 billion in the entire Asian continent if it were legalized, especially due to the market potential in the economic giants China, Japan and India.
"A regulated legal cannabis market could be transformative to patients, farmers and economies across Asia," said Daragh Anglim, the firm's managing director.
"From a financial standpoint, as the world's most populous region, the legalization of cannabis could encourage robust economic growth across the region, buoyed by both local and international demand," he added.
According to the report, at least 86 million people across Asia use marijuana every year.
The medicinal use of cannabis is legal in countries such as Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Portugal, New Zealand and several states in the United States as an alternative treatment for chronic pain or the side effects of chemotherapy, among other ailments.
Recreational weed use had been either decriminalized or fully legalized in the Netherlands, Uruguay, some US states, Canada, the Czech Republic, Colombia, Ecuador, Portugal and South Africa.