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Thai cannabis farmers being undercut by foreign imports

Thailand continues to struggle since legalising cannabis last year with Thai farmers being undercut by foreign imports.

The nation shocked the world when they legalised cannabis in 2022, breaking the trend of south-east Asia. While the move was met with popular support, the regulation and process of legalising has been trickier than imagined.

This has led to the move becoming somewhat delicate for the political parties with the ruling pro-military coalition coming under scrutiny for the timing of legalising cannabis.

For Thai farmers, the latest issue to come to the fore around cannabis is that they are suffering from the competition of imports.

The issue first arose during the initial boom of legalising cannabis, which led to the country running out of supply.

The imports were smuggled into the nation and drove down the wholesale prices that local farmers were growing.

Imported cannabis remains illegal in the nation but in many of the tourist areas, shops promote that their cannabis comes from abroad as punters appear to prefer the stronger cannabis other nations can provide.

Approximately half the cannabis being sold in Thailand is smuggled from abroad with the main source being from the United States.

The Thai cannabis industry was initially estimated to become worth $1.2 billion by 2025, but farmers are now seeing their savings dwindle with many considering quitting the industry.

Unless the government can get a handle on the situation, the immediate future of the industry appears uncertain.

As new elections draw nearer, the issue of cannabis could come to the fore with one of the major opposition parties wanting to allow cannabis but only for medicinal purposes.

This is just the latest issue that Thailand has had since legalising the drug. There have warnings towards tourists who intend to visit to buy and use Thai cannabis and a recent bill to introduce further regulation into the market failed.


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