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US Cannabis Imports Hurting Thai Growers and Sellers

Foreign sellers are illegally supplying cheap, smuggled weed that is untaxed.

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Global Cannabis Times @ Thailand

Thai cannabis growers and sellers say they are being undercut by illegal imports from the U.S. that sell product for a fraction of the price of homegrown buds. Local businesses say foreign money is filling the gap, with many dispensaries across the country pushing low-cost cannabis imported illegally from the US, Al Jazeera reported on Monday.

That U.S. produced weed can be cheaper than locally produced product–in a country where over a million citizens have registered to grow it, and where the government gave away a million plants–might be an indicator of just how big the cannabis glut is in America. New York State, for example, had $750 million in weed sitting around doing nothing at the end of 2022, because there are over 200 licensed farmers and less than ten open retail locations. Other States face similar problems with over supply.

Thailand decriminalized cannabis in June 2022, with the aim of becoming a global hub for medical cannabis. However, the country’s parliament has yet to pass a cannabis bill, leaving the industries’ regulatory framework incomplete.

Foreign sellers are approaching Thai dispensaries to sell cheap, smuggled weed that is untaxed and then sold at two to five times its original price, local cannabis entrepreneurs told Al Jazeera. The product is smuggled in furniture and fruit or vegetable containers making it difficult for customs to detect.

Under Thai law, recreational cannabis use is still theoretically illegal. However, enforcement is patchy, and cannabis shops and stalls are found on practically every other street corner in Thailand’s major towns and cities.

Anutin Charnvirakul, Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Health Minister, and his Bhumjathai Party, which pushed decriminalization, blames corrupt officials for the flood of illegal imports and political opportunism ahead of the general elections on May 14th.

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