Thailand’s First Cannabis Conference Shows Country is Not Quite There Yet.
In late January, Thailand hosted its first medicinal cannabis conference in Bangkok – Invest Cannabis Asia.
Half way through the day, it was clear that Thailand is still a ways off from an established medicinal cannabis industry.
All levels of industry were represented, including government, medical professionals and international industry.
Starting the event was Dr Metadilogkul, Director of the Cannabinoid Medicine Institute at the Occupational and Environmental Medicine of Thailand. She made it clear that although bill passed through parliament in late 2018, it has yet to be signed off by the Prime Minister or the King, preventing the laws implementation.
Throughout the day, the audience was constantly reminded that medicinal cannabis is still illegal in Thailand, and this is unlikely to be changed before the upcoming election – expected to be held on March 24.
Notwithstanding, many local proponents are pushing for local, co-operative style cultivation, similar to their tobacco industry. The tobacco sector represents thousands of family famers who contribute crop to a central manufacturing hub, allowing many communities to benefit.
This being said, there is a huge opportunity for international organisations to get involved in the emerging Thai market, providing IP and knowhow to facilitate the local industry to grow.
Several cannabis companies have clearly already identified this, including Canopy, Tilray, MGC Pharma and Little Green Pharma, were among others attending the event.
MGC Pharma seems to be leading the pack in this regard, having been present in Thailand for over 12 months and are now positioned to conduct clinical trials and licenses to import products as the law determines.
Ron Lipsky, VP International Business Development at MGC Pharmaceuticals and speaker at the conference, said “this is a zone to keep an eye on, in terms of both emerging innovation and potential massive market share. The rice bowl of Asia could soon become the green bowl.”