Leading CBD players say they’ll move aggressively into Thailand after the country removed cannabis and hemp extracts from its narcotics list this week.
Pure CBD and CBD-based products with THC content of less than 0.2%, were stricken from the Thailand’s Category 5 narcotics schedule, regulators said. Hemp seed and oil are now also exempt from Category 5, under the changes.
Clear path for extracts
“The intention is to allow extracts to be used in medicine, cosmetics and food and support hemp as a cash crop,” said Tares Krassanairawiwong, Secretary-General of the Thai Food and Drug Administration.
The 0.2% THC threshold is more restrictive than the generally observed 0.3% THC limit observed in most parts of the world. Europe is still under that limit, but stakeholders are working to push the EU to raise the allowable level of THC to 0.3%. Australia and Uruguay allow a full 1% THC in hemp.
Among players who say they’ll invest in the sector are the Ganja Group, Bangkok, which said it is working to develop a CBD extraction operation to supply medical cannabis products to Megalife Sciences Pcl. Both companies are owned by the billionaire Shah family.
U.S. firm making moves
Colorado, U.S.-based CBD maker C-Beyond Health Inc. said in March it had received an investment from Hong Kong-based multi-national Triple Ten Ltd, and is now moving into Thailand as the regulatory environment has cleared.
CEO Scott Reese told HempToday this week that C-beyond Health established a Thai based company earlier in the year in anticipation of laws changing, and has already established infrastructure on 400 acres for hemp cultivation in the Chang Mi region of the country.
“We will reach more healthcare professionals in Asia, open the market for innovative cannabinoid-based product lines, and build new relationships with the highest levels of government in these markets,” Reese told HempToday at the time the deal with Triple Ten was announced.
And venture capital firm Expara said it is aiming to raise $30 million by the end of the year to invest in cannabis-related technology in Thailand.
The companies’ moves are despite the fact that licenses are not yet available for businesses under Thailand’s rather restrictive cannabis program. Only hospitals and research institutions may apply for licenses to develop medical cannabis extracts, meaning anyone wanting to do business in Thailand must pair up with such entities.
Also, cannabis production, cultivation and sale is limited to Thai producers for five years to protect the domestic industry. Some 334 permits have been issued so far, mainly to hospitals and health agencies.
Thailand delivered its first batch of 10,000 bottles of cannabis oil extract to patients through medical facilities last month.