Almost a year after the decriminalization of marijuana amid hopes of a boom in the economy, Thai cannabis cultivators and sellers allege that illegal imports from the United States that sell for a much lower price than the country’s buds are affecting their businesses. Thailand delisted marijuana from its list of prohibited substances in June of last year. This came about as a result of a significant effort by Anutin Charnvirakul, the health minister, to position the nation as a global powerhouse for medical marijuana.
However, the long-awaited marijuana bill has not yet been approved by Thailand’s parliament, which has left the industry’s regulatory structure in a state of uncertainty. Local companies claim that foreign capital is filling the funding void, with many shops around the nation promoting cheap cannabis that has been illegally imported from the United States.
Local marijuana operators argue that foreign brokers are approaching neighborhood dispensaries to market inexpensive, untaxed marijuana that is brought in at a discount and then sold for almost six times the original price.
Recreational marijuana use is still technically not allowed under Thailand’s law. But marijuana booths and shops can be spotted on most streets in major cities and towns due to the spotty regulation. Thai sellers and farmers are concerned that local companies are losing out on the increasing demand as visitors pour into Thailand to enjoy the country’s liberal attitude toward recreational marijuana use.
The Bhumjaithai political party, known for supporting decriminalization, attributes the influx of illegal imports to corrupt officials and political rivalry, which is creating unfavorable press coverage of marijuana reform in advance of upcoming general elections.
Supachai Jaisamutr, a proponent of marijuana legalization for the party, stated that despite the existence of legislation to deal with illegal imports, the officers from the agriculture and customs ministries who are in charge of implementing it do not do so. Supachai mentioned that according to estimates from the nation’s commerce chamber, the marijuana industry contributed roughly $1.2 billion to the economy in 2017. However, the financial advantages are difficult to see for many local stakeholders who are up against foreign capital.
One seasoned marijuana dealer who transitioned into a legal businessman claimed he spent a lot of money making his own fertilizer and soil only to discover that his marijuana was too pricey for a market flooded with low-cost imports.
Growers of marijuana in the United States have many resources available to them, including cultivation supplies such as those from Advanced Container Technologies Inc. (OTC: ACTX).
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