Thailand’s narcotics list just got a bit shorter, as both cannabis and hemp extracts were removed from it. The news was made public by government officials on Monday. The decision is part of an ongoing push to develop a medical marijuana product industry in the country. 

Marijuana is traditionally used in the Asian nation as a pain and fatigue relief folk medicine. The plant had previously been legalized for medical and research purposes in 2018 – with hopes of giving the national agricultural sector a shot in the arm. 

“The intention is to allow extracts to be used in medicine, cosmetics and food and support hemp as a cash crop,” Tares Krassanairawiwong, secretary-general of the Food and Drug Administration, said in a press junket. The official also revealed that hemp seed and oil would be exempt as well.

While only research facilities and hospitals are able to apply for medical marijuana extract production, an opportunity begins to bloom for businesses in the region. 

Ganja Group – property of the billionaire Shah family, plans to provide Megalife Sciences (also owned by the Shahs) with medical cannabis. Ishaan Shah, founder of the marijuana company, revealed that the short term goal is cannabidiol extraction.

Thailand’s cannabis market is forecast to reach $600 million within 5 years, per a report released by Prohibition Partners – an analyst firm. 

Regulators said that, specifically, extracts from marijuana and hemp plants – like pure CBD, CBD-based products, and products that have less than 0.2% tetrahydrocannabinol content, were removed from the Category 5 Narcotics list. 

Business licenses are not yet available.