Investor Ideas Potcasts #635, Cannabis News and Stocks on the Move - Thailand and Cannabis in Asia
Delta, Kelowna, BC - July 22, 2022 (Investorideas.com Newswire) www.Investorideas.com, a global news source covering leading sectors including marijuana and hemp stocks and its potcast site release today's podcast edition of cannabis news and stocks to watch plus insight from thought leaders and experts.
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Investor Ideas Potcasts #635, Cannabis News and Stocks on the Move - Thailand and Cannabis in Asia
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Today's podcast overview/transcript:
In today's podcast we look at a few private and public company announcements.
In today's podcast we take a look at last month's cannabis decriminalisation in Thailand and how this has continued to develop as well as how both cannabis and CBD are progressing, or in some cases regressing, elsewhere in Asia.
Thailand topped news headlines in the cannabis space, having announced that as of Thursday, June 9th, Thailand became the first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis.
In a CNN interview ahead of the move, Thai Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul said he expected legal cannabis production to boost the economy but cautioned that recreational use of the drug remains illegal. "It's a no," said Anutin, who is also a deputy prime minister. "We still have regulations under the law that control the consumption, smoking or use of cannabis products in non-productive ways."
Harsh penalties remain in place under the Public Health Act, including up to three months in jail and an $800 fine for smoking cannabis in public
"We [have always] emphasised using cannabis extractions and raw materials for medical purposes and for health," Anutin said. "There has never once been a moment that we would think about advocating people to use cannabis in terms of recreation -- or use it in a way that could irritate others."
A BBC article discussed the nuances of the new rules as, "people in Thailand can now grow cannabis plants at home and sell the crop after the nation removed marijuana from its banned narcotics list. Under decriminalisation, it is no longer a crime to grow and trade marijuana and hemp products, or use parts of the plant to treat illnesses. Cafes and restaurants can also serve cannabis-infused food and drinks -- but only if the products contain less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)"
The government is hoping that developing a local cannabis trade will boost agriculture and tourism. It has also given away one million cannabis seedlings to citizens to encourage pick-up.
"It is an opportunity for people and the state to earn income from marijuana and hemp," said Charnvirakul.
Since legalisation, Thailand Weed, a website and blog that is devoted to creating engaging and informative articles, so that you can discover all the relevant facts about the recent legalisation of weed in Thailand released an article "All You Need To Know Article About The Recent Legalisation Of Marijuana In Thailand"
Thailand Weed have made a useful guide of Thailand's current cannabis legislature, so that you are fully aware of all the laws and conditions, an example of this is below:
- CBD or "hemp" based cannabis products are completely legal in Thailand.
- If approved by the Thai government, marijuana can be homegrown if it is intended to be used for medical purposes.
- Individuals must first receive a medical prescription for marijuana use from a licensed physician, only then can they go to government approved hospitals or cannabis clinics to receive the drug.
- Components of the plant, including the bud and sees, can now be legally used for medical or science-related reasons.
To find out more about Thailand Weed and read more detailed articles on the recent legalisation of marijuana in Thailand, please visit their website at https://www.thailandweed.com.
Thailand legalised medical use for cannabis back in 2018, along with South Korea but since then we have seen little movement in the cannabis space throughout Asia.
In a Vice report from 2021, Vice journalist Junhyup Kwon visited South Korea's southeastern province of Gyeongbuk, a regulation-free zone for hemp, making it the centre of the country's cannabis industry. The city of Andong in the province, which has traditionally grown hemp fabrics for thousands of years, has since been the hub of the project.
"Although the laws allow it for medical use, the government has placed further restrictions through specific rules," said Kang Sung-seok, an activist pastor and the representative and founder of Korea Medical Cannabis Organization, said in a phone interview with VICE World News.
"The government allows patients to access only a small number of medicines for some diseases. And it also requires patients to get approvals from doctors in a very limited number of hospitals," he said.
In a recent article from the BankokPost, "Thai embassies in South Korea and Singapore are the latest to warn travellers from Thailand not to bring cannabis or cannabis products with them, as they could face a prison term or even the death penalty. These mark the latest in a growing list of Thai embassies warning Thais that cannabis is still illegal in most countries."
In Japan a recent High Times article discussed how a Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare panel met on May 25 to begin discussions regarding lifting the ban on medical cannabis to benefit patients who suffer from refractory epilepsy.
As reported by The Asahi Shimbun, the ministry may revise the current law sometime this summer. Japanese law currently prohibits any possession or cultivation of any part of cannabis, including "the spikes, leaves, roots and ungrown stalk of the cannabis plant."
The Asahi Shimbun references that of the "Group of Seven," or the seven countries with the most advanced economies, which includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Of these, Japan currently has one of the strictest approaches to cannabis regulation and prohibition. In August 2021, the Japanese ministry wrote a report that recommended that the government should consider following the example of other countries to allow patients to use medical cannabis.
In Hong Kong things are turning in a different direction as in recent news Hong Kong's law enforcement authorities have proposed banning CBD products within this year after finding that a third of such items sold in the city contain traces of an illegal active ingredient in marijuana.
But retailers have expressed reservations, arguing they should be allowed to sell such products as long as the items have undergone laboratory testing and are verified safe for use.
The Security Bureau had also submitted a paper to the Legislative Council proposing amendments to list CBD - or cannabidiol, a substance derived from cannabis and its close relative, hemp - under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance within 2022.
The change will make the substance illegal under the Dangerous Drugs Ordinance, which means those who buy or consume such goods may face a maximum of seven years in jail.
According to an article from the Bangkok Post, "Authorities cited a recent study which found a trace amount of THC in a synthetic CBD solution after only three months of use and it being stored on a benchtop. THC was not detected in the item at the start of the experiment. It also cited another piece of literature, which found CBD could be converted into THC with the use of readily available acidic materials, such as vinegar or battery acid, in a household kitchen."
In India, a country with a deep history of cannabis use and knowledge, we are seeing a slow shift towards cannabis readoption as discussed in a recent article where Kerala became home to Asia's first Ayurvedic cannabis wellness retreat and a new gin from Goa which features hemp as its star ingredient. This year also saw the opening of three hemp-based cafes in India—The Hemp Cafeteria in Pune, Off Limits Cafe in Kasol and, most recently, The Hemp Factory in Mumbai.
In November 2021, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) allowed the sale of hemp seed, hemp seed oil and hemp flour as a food and an ingredient for food.
Yet, setting up a hemp-based eatery is far from smooth-sailing. Shitole opened her cafe this June but not everyone is accepting of the idea. "It's not like my cafe is packed because it's newly opened. People are still scared and apprehensive to come here," she says.
Dealing with local authorities and the perceptions of people caused delays in the paperwork, and she doesn't get a lot of customers from the neighbourhood her cafe is located in. "But there are people who come from other parts of the city because they know about hemp and are curious about the cafe."
Elsewhere in Asia we see news from Russia regarding U.S. basketball player Brittney Griner who recently pled guilty to drug charges which carry a prison sentence of up to ten years after she was detained at a Moscow airport in February carrying vape cartridges with hashish oil. Griner's Lawyers told a Russian court on she was prescribed medical cannabis in the United States for a chronic injury
The Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA) star appeared in court wearing a Nirvana t-shirt on Friday, July 15th, 2022 for the fourth hearing in the trial. She has said she did not intend to break the law, and U.S. President Joe Biden has said the United States is doing everything it can to secure her release.
This recent case with Griner in Russia, as well as the developments in the Ukraine have revitalised support for cannabis reform and criticism of the Biden Administration as grassroots protests have been organised across the United States, from Phoenix, Arizona, to Harlem in New York. A petition on Change.org surpassed 310,000 signatures. Celebrities, athletes and prominent politicians continue to pile on the pressure.
Not only do many support this beloved, internationally recognized athlete, but the majority of Americans (68%, to be precise) support legalizing marijuana. Seventy percent of Americans also support clearing past cannabis convictions from criminal records for nonviolent offenders.
As mentioned in a recent article from MJBiz Daily, "with midterm elections around the corner and the U.S. Congress in a rush to clear up unfinished business, a bipartisan group of lawmakers is growing increasingly frustrated that Senate Democrats continue rejecting the SAFE Banking Act already passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.
Moreover, the Senate has yet to hold a vote on the SAFE Banking Act - or any other marijuana reform proposal - that could pave the way for House-Senate negotiations.
So when looking at the majority of Asia, cannabis is still both highly stigmatised as well as mostly illegal, though this step from Thailand could offer renewed momentum to the industry.
According to The Asian Cannabis Report, "Asia, the world's most populous continent, has a relatively low prevalence of cannabis use at just 2% annually. However, this is the equivalent to an estimated 85.5 million people, making Asia a key market in the long-term expansion plans of producers, investors and operators. As the historically conservative stance on cannabis begins to soften, the medical market alone could be worth as much as US$5.8 billion by 2024."
Another recent report titled "Cannabidiol Oil Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis - Global Opportunity Analysis And Industry Forecast 2030, Covid 19 Outbreak Impact"noted that "based on region, the Asia-Pacific cannabidiol oil market is forecast to emerge as the largest market, owing to the presence of various hemp-producing plants. China is expected to be the largest contributor to the cannabidiol oil market as it is one of the largest hemp cultivators in Asia, which develops half of the world's hemp. Furthermore, favourable legislation approving the use of cannabidiol will benefit the manufacturers. For instance, Thailand became the first Southeast Asian country in 2019 that permitted the use of cannabis for medicinal applications. Thus, such factors are expected to benefit the Asia-Pacific cannabidiol oil market during the study period."
There is obviously a huge potential market to be had with expansion of medical legalisation as well as federal decriminalisation but the question remains will there ever be recreational allowances in Asia? The key element seems to be the stigma towards "getting high" or the psychoactive effects of THC and its anecdotal link to supposed "laziness" or lack of productivity. As the majority of Asian countries manage most of global production capabilities, one can see why this would be the mainline issue.
An article from Fortune discussed research regarding cannabis and work productivity, specifically the link between cannabis access, pain medication and productivity and how the three link.
"Previous research has shown that when a specific chronic pain medication is removed from the market, people are less likely to work, and those who do work become more likely to take sick days. The older someone is, the more likely they are to take pain medication. This new research finds that after recreational marijuana is legalised, marijuana use (but not misuse) increases, and prescription fills for chronic pain medications decline. Older workers are more likely to suffer from chronic pain, which prevents some of them from working. Marijuana is useful in managing chronic pain, and while pain medications are available, they require a prescription, while recreational marijuana does not. The ability to purchase the medication ' over the counter' may reduce hassle costs and/or stigma, which have been found to affect access in the context of other health products," the authors write.
"After recreational marijuana is legalised, working-age older workers are much less likely to claim workers' compensation benefits. They're better able to work productively."
No matter whether you are looking at parts of Asia, Europe, South America or North America, there is one discussion/argument that permeates under all discussions of medical benefits, health risks, mental risks, societal benefits and downsides or the legal status of the plant and that is the issue of "getting high" It seems there is always one category of person (a person uncomfortable with getting high themselves, usually due to control issues) is continually arguing with all other categories of people (who use either cannabis or other plant or fungal based entheogens for medical or recreational use) over the merits of the "high" or psychoactive or entheogenic effect that these substances produce. In order for cannabis and other plant and fungal based medicines such as Kratom, Psilocybin, DMT and Ayahuasca to truly become global this disconnect between those who are capable of enjoying the ride of "getting high" and those who cannot must be addressed.
Consider this when thinking about this very topic; some of the most popular Global bands like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, innovators such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates and the vast majority of stand comedians, actors, musicians, artists, tech programers and designers, construction workers, truck drivers, NBA Players, NFL Players, MMA Fighters, athletes in general, artists and not to mention Veterans and Police Officers have been shown to regularly use and benefit from the use of cannabis. People who tend to be sitting in the anti-cannabis or anti-high side of the argument tend to be Politicians, government lobbyist groups, Super PAC's, C-Level Executives, NFL Owners, NBA Owners, Sports Commissioners, Mainstream Media companies and hosts, real estate development groups and Pharmaceutical companies and those working within them. Maybe those who are "getting high" are the ones actually being productive and benefitting society at large, and the ones who are staunchly against such activity are the ones simply benefiting from the hard work of those "getting high".
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