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Cannabis News Week: Thailand to Distribute 1 Million Marijuana Plants

Thais will be allowed to grow medical grade cannabis for personal use or sale.
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While the U.S. Congress continues to debate legalizing cannabis, Thailand said it will distribute marijuana plants to 1 million households throughout the country. 

Agriculture accounts for about a third of Thailand's economy. 

On June 9 the country will allow people to grow cannabis at home after notifying their local authorities.

Thailand has been one of the more forward thinking countries in the world when it comes to regulating marijuana. 

It became the first Southeast Asian country to legalize medical cannabis in 2018. 

The people who register will have to grow medical grade cannabis, but they can have it for their own use or as part of a small business. 

It will be illegal to grow and sell cannabis that contains more than 0.2% THC. 

Larger businesses will still be required to seek permission from the country's Food and Drug Administration to sell the plant, according to the Indian Express

Thailand's embrace of cannabis runs counter to the laws of many of the other countries in the region. 

In Singapore, possession could get you up to 10 years in jail and trafficking is a death penalty offense. Indonesia and Malaysia also put traffickers to death. 

Zimbabwe Cannabis Market Has Growing Pains

Zimbabwe has had legal medical cannabis for as long as Thailand has. 

The country has allowed licensed growers to cultivate marijuana since 2018, and in 2021 the country licensed 57 foreign and local growers to farm in the country. 

Sales of cannabis there were expected to reach $1.25 billion last year, according to Bloomberg.

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Last year's action was as a relief to farmers who have been growing tobacco as sales of that crop, which is the country's top agricultural export, have dwindled in recent years. 

"We stand to sell cannabis at $25 per kilogramme, which is five, six times more than what a good tobacco crop can give you. We are actually sitting on a green gold mine," Nyanungo, a 35-year-old farmer told Reuters

However, the price of starting up a cannabis business capable of producing medical grade products isn't cheap. 

A greenhouse is about $500,000, and that doesn't include the drip system or the seed inputs. 

Growing one hectare of cannabis can cost up to $2.5 million, leading producers in the country to lobby the government to relax rules and lower costs. 

That means foreign players will dominate the market, at least early on. 

The Zimbabwe Investment and Development Agency said that it had given licenses to investors from Germany, Switzerland, and Canada, "as well some local players."

New Jersey City Changes Mind About Cannabis

Secaucus changed its mind. It wants in on the fun(ds). 

The New Jersey city five miles from Manhattan had voted to ban recreational cannabis businesses in the city on Aug. 20 last year, just one day before the deadline to make such a decision. 

Fast forward nine months, and its town council has now voted 5-2 to strike down that ban ordinance. 

"I’m not in favor [of the ban]. Really, it’s all about the financials," Mayor Michael Gonnelli said, according to the Hudson Reporter

“Financially, we stand to gain a lot of money by the sale of recreational marijuana.”

"If people don’t get it here, they’re going to go Jersey City or North Bergen,” Gonnelli said. “They’re all going to sell it. It really doesn’t do anything to us.”