Israel and Thailand plan to promote their cannabis and hemp industries as economic forecasts point to potential huge dividends.
Speaking at a recent online forum on "Israel-Thailand hemp and cannabis" organised by the Israeli embassy and Thailand Industrial Hemp Trade Associations (TIHTA), Israeli Ambassador to Thailand Orna Sagiv said cannabis and hemp could bring Thailand's economy a huge boost.
Citing University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce research, she said the Thai medical cannabis and hemp market expanded 15% annually and would reach US$1.2 billion (about 45.6 billion baht) in 2025.
"That can create opportunity for upstream to downstream hemp and cannabis businesses," she said. Israel, she said, was a global leader in cannabis research.
"The Israeli cannabis market continues to grow and by 2024 is expected to reach around US$2.4 billion," she said.
Deloitte Israel Tax and Incentives leader Nadal Gil said the global cannabis market would generate sales of US$132 billion by 2028. Thanks to technology and innovation, Israel was the ideal place for cannabis research, he said.
The country had more than 116,000 cannabis patients, and all academic institutions had cannabis research underway, he said.
David Meir, of the Israel Institute of Technology (Technion), said Thailand should strive to understand the plant at the molecular level.
There were more than 1,000 types of cannabis plants that produce different combinations of cannabinoids and other compounds.
"It is hard to match cannabis with symptoms to reduce the side effects of using medical cannabis. So academic collaboration is important," he added.