Cannabis delisting sparks market interest
Following the partial decriminalisation of cannabis, several consumer goods firms are eager to use it in their products.
published : 13 Jun 2022 at 11:09
writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Large companies in the beverage, entertainment and consumer product fields are making forays into cannabis-related products after the partial decriminalisation of the drug took effect last Thursday.
Pongpasu Unaphom, senior marketing director at Giffarine Skyline Unity Co, a Thai direct sales company, said its R&D team is accelerating the development of ready-to-eat food products and beverages with cannabis as a key ingredient.
“A majority of people hope to use cannabis-based products to benefit their sleep, but manufacturers are limited because the quantity of cannabis allowed in products is still controlled by the Food and Drug Administration [FDA],” Mr Pongpasu said.
PROMISE DESPITE RESTRICTIONS
He believes health trends and the clear benefits of cannabis and hemp seed oil will fuel demand for products made from the plants.
“We launched a premium toothpaste with hemp seed oil to the market last month,” said Mr Pongpasu.
“We can sell around 20,000 tubes of toothpaste thus far, up from the 15,000 we projected.”
The company plans to launch food and beverages with cannabis as a key ingredient in the second half of the year.
Cannabis was removed from Thailand’s Category 5 narcotics list on June 9, allowing people to grow an unlimited number of plants at home.
The delisting of cannabis as a narcotic does not mean people can use it freely, especially for recreation.
Homegrown cannabis is allowed only for health and medical purposes, and people have to register the cultivation first with provincial administrative organisations, or via the mobile app Pluk Kan, developed and operated by the FDA.
Despite the legal easing, extracts containing more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, will still be recognised as a Category 5 substance and regulated under laws pertaining to narcotics control and suppression.
Anyone who intends to grow marijuana plants for commercial purposes has to seek permission from the responsible authorities.
MORE FOOD ITEMS
Boonyong Tansakul, chief executive at Zen Corporation Plc, the operator of Tummour, an Isan restaurant chain, and Khiang street food, said the company is set to use cannabis in its menus.
“We have launched our Tummour fermented fish sauce [pla ra] with cannabis this month and will use cannabis instead of basil in some menus of Khiang street food if there is enough supply,” Mr Boonyong said.
“The new law will allow many industries to use cannabis as an ingredient in their products, such as candy, chocolate, chewing gum, cosmetics, bakery products and beverages.”
Kanwara Kiratisaevee, marketing director of Hokkaido Food and Beverage Co, the marketer of the Marucho snack brand under TOA Group, said the company launched a Marucho snack with terpene flavour in January this year to test the market response.
“We will take time to study the market response and watch whether the popularity of cannabis-related products will be sustainable,” Ms Kanwara said.
She said the company is conducting feasibility studies to develop beverages, including a functional drink that has cannabis as an ingredient.
Kamolrat Mongkolkrut, chief sales officer of JKN Global Group, the content provider and entertainment company, said the firm plans to emphasise product expansion with cannabis as an ingredient because it believes the plant will gain popularity if it is seen as a magic ingredient that benefits people’s health.
The group launched skincare products with hemp seed oil via the online market in December last year.
The company expects 30 of JKN’s hemp and seed oil products to be available for sale this year, with sales of 200 million baht.
“The market value of pharmaceutical and food supplements with cannabis as an ingredient is estimated at 50 million baht in 2021, with the figure expected to reach 15.8 billion baht in 2025,” Ms Kamolrat said.