Thailand is set to host two cannabis-related forums next month, as the country seeks to promote the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes to the public.
The first major event will be held in Bangkok’s Carlton Hotel on April 19-20 to mark World Cannabis Day.
The event, which will be free, is expected to draw large crowds, with more than 50 participating vendors showcasing a variety of cannabis-based products, including food and drink.
Jacky Ong, the president of Cannabis Investment Summit World (CISW) International, said the event would be a watershed moment for the cannabis use and trade both in Thailand and the wider Asian region.
“Thailand is ready to be a cannabis hub in Asia, as the regulations relating to legalisation have already been amended,” he said.
He added that the event’s dates were chosen to coincide with the 420th day since medical cannabis was legalised in Thailand — a reference to “420”, a number often associated with the cannabis counterculture that began in the United States.
Another cannabis-related event that will take place next month is the 2021 International Medical Cannabis Association Conference, which will be held in Chiang Mai on April 16-18.
The event will be attended by both medical experts and growers from 22 countries with a burgeoning medical marijuana industry.
The public interest garnered by the events reflected the growing interest in cannabis in Thailand.
According to Alexander K Lindgren, a medical tourism consultant for Thann Global Travel, said the tourism industry will also benefit from the government’s decision to promote the use of medical marijuana.
Thailand is known to be one of the world’s best sources of cannabis strains, in addition to its reputation for wellness and healthcare tourism.
Combining the two together will attract many tourists from all over the globe, including China, Europe and the United States,” he said.
An adviser to the Association of Domestic Travel, Komsarn Wijitwikrom, agreed with Mr Lindgren, saying the move to legalise parts of the cannabis plant would allow future generations to learn and benefit from the crop, which could potentially translate into higher incomes in farming communities.
“We are on the right track now. We have a cash crop on our hands, so now we have to know how to market it,” he said.
While the use of bark, branches, leaves and roots of the cannabis plant has been legalised by the Food and Drug Administration, the flowers — which contains most of the plant’s psychoactive ingredients — remain classified as a narcotic.
A presenter shows off dried anchovy and fermented fish sauce products that use cannabis as an ingredient at a press conference at an event to mark World Cannabis Day and the 420 days that have passed since medical cannabis use was legalised in the country. Apichart Jinakul