The Asian Cannabis Report projects medicinal cannabis consumption to increase faster in Asia than in other early-adopter nations and regions. (Photo by Pongpat Wongyala)
Thailand's cannabis industry is projected to grow to US$661 million (21 billion baht) by 2024, according to a report by Prohibition Partners, a cannabis research firm.
This includes projected growth of the medical cannabis market of $237 million, for a combined recreational and medical cannabis market of $661 million.
"The Asian Cannabis Report" also estimated Asia could see a cannabis industry as large as $5.8 billion by 2024 if a number of the region's major markets legalise recreational and medicinal cannabis.
"A regulated legal cannabis market could be transformative for patients, farmers and economies across Asia," said Daragh Anglim, managing director at Prohibition Partners. "From a financial standpoint, as the world's most populous region, the legalisation of cannabis could encourage robust economic growth across the region, buoyed by both local and international demand."
The report claimed almost 86 million people across Asia consume cannabis annually and medicinal cannabis consumption alone is expected to increase faster in Asia than in other early-adopter nations and regions.
China and Japan represent Asia's two largest-value medicinal cannabis markets, worth almost $4.4 billion in China and $800 million in Japan by 2024. They would collectively account for an estimated 90% share of the market.
China has already established global dominance in hemp, accounting for nearly half of the world's supply, worth an estimated $1.2 billion.
India, however, is home to the highest number of cannabis consumers in Asia, an estimated 38 million.
"As demand for CBD rises internationally, China has a huge opportunity to capitalise on this market and help to shift opinion in favour of the therapeutic effects of different cannabinoids, which could stimulate economic growth," Mr Anglim said.