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Hemp, a weed that has long been considered a forbidden plant and is listed on Thailand's narcotics list, is sweeping the country.
Since the government-approved commercial hemp and cannabis growing in the country last year to promote hemp and cannabis as new cash crops, ten categories of goods or products ranging from mouth spray, food supplements, skin care products, and energy drinks to painkillers and spa products are cashing in on the hype.
Individuals, legal entities, government offices, community enterprises, and companies can now register to use the legal parts of cannabis and hemp for medical purposes, as well as in the textile, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries, as of January 29.
Registration applications are processed at FDA offices in Bangkok, while they are sent to provincial public health offices in other provinces.
Hemp import and export applications must be submitted to the FDA's office.
The FDA is pushing for cannabis to be added to the National List of Essential Medicines and authorized for use in food products.
On February 22, an FDA committee approved a draft from the public health minister that adds cannabis to the list and allows it to use it as an ingredient in foods such as oil extracts for breakfast cereals, bakery products, beverages, snacks, butter, and food supplements.
Hemp will be a new powerhouse for the Thai economy, as per Tareetip Wongsaengpaitoon, senior vice-president of Kasikorn Securities Plc, who cites products including hemp as having strong growth potential. Investors are bullish on the future of the hemp industry in the U.s., so stocks with a connection to hemp-related businesses have seen a persistent uptick in prices this year.