Thailand sees cannabis boom after law change

Thailand has gone “baa her,” or crazy, for cannabis since the plant was effectively decriminalized last month. New supply chains are rapidly sprouting for products based on cannabis and its derivatives, from cannabis leaves used in sriracha hot sauce and gummy bears infused with terpenes – the compounds that give cannabis its taste and smell – to hemp teas and pre-rolled joints.

Thailand’s removal of cannabis from its list of banned narcotics on June 9 was intended only to make it easier for growers and consumers of cannabis products to access the plant for medicinal or culinary purposes. Smoking the drug recreationally remains against the law.

Nevertheless, recreational use has also taken off across the Southeast Asian country, driving a developing business in cannabis buds, cookies, and beverages that police are unable to stymie under existing drug laws.

For many young people, in particular, cannabis products have provided badly needed streams of income following the collapse of tourism, which normally provides about one-fifth of the kingdom’s jobs, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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