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Thailand’s post-Covid bounce-back: Medical cannabis tourism!

Thailand, the first Asian country to legalize medicinal cannabis, is launching a medical cannabis tourism campaign in 2021.  

The country has been quick to reformulate its tourist offering in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.  It intends to build a new tourism industry with one sector being health and indigenous medicines. 

Next year it will lay the foundations for the industry by first getting locals on board.


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The creative plan by the Bangkok government is part of a national education campaign to educate Thai citizens on the benefits of CBD. The Bangkok Post reports that the tourism initiative focuses only on medical marijuana – recreational use remains strictly banned in Thailand, as in all other Asian countries.


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Holistic approach to developing cannabis industry

African countries could take a lesson from Thailand. It has ideologically embraced the concept of medical marijuana rather than  look for the quick cash fix. It has developed a holistic approach to developing the industry.  How could that translate in Africa?

Thailand aims to become a major player in the export market and is considering launching an international medical cannabis expo in 2021.

Thailand became the first Asian country to legalize marijuana for medical use in 2018, but the country’s breakthrough came on 4 August 2020, when the cabinet approved an amendment to the Narcotics Act to allow private medical practitioners, some traditional healers, and farmers to grow marijuana for medical treatment.


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Cannabis tourism to start by educating locals

To start with the programme will target locals and businesspeople, including aspirant cannabis farmers. Eight provinces will be included in the tourism initiative  – Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Samut Songkhram, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Ratchasima, Buri Ram, Phatthalung and Chon Buri.

Anyone can purchase a tour package that consists of marijuana farm tours, forums on current regulations, and demonstrations on how to grow the plant and generate an income from it.

The tour will showcase a number of processes concerning medicinal cannabis, including cultivating and regulating the plant, while participants will learn everything about the business opportunities in connection with the drug.

It is hoped that the tour will get some attention from domestic and foreign businesses in the industry. 


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Thailand, like all other international tourist destinations, was hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic. With the tourism industry decimated and whole nature of international travel changing, 

Thailand has identified health as a cornerstone of its new tourism strategy. Within that CBD will play a critical role spanning both public health and tourism and Thailand is likely to host a major international medicinal cannabis expo in 2021.


Paving the way for a better understanding of marijuana

Tourism and Sports minister, Phiphat Ratchakitprakarn said: “In the early stages, the programme aims to educate locals who would like to form a community enterprise and bid to become authorised cannabis growers.

“This programme will pave the way for a basic understanding of marijuana and its economic benefits”.


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He said the Tourism Department and the Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine Department will work together to promote medicinal tourism as a broader concept, saying that cannabis was only one of Thailand’s rich heritage of medicinal plants which should be showcased to the world.

Mr Ratchakitprakarn added: “We should consider cannabis as a legacy from the past worth preserving. Thais have used this plant as medicine since the King Narai era.“Its medicinal properties were later verified by modern research.”


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