ASIAN CANNABIS MARKETS
Japan has one of the most stringent policies against cannabis consumption and possession in the world. Japanese law does permit the use and sale of CBD as of 2016, as well as the cultivation of low-THC hemp plants with an official license. More and more people in Japan are starting to use CBD products since a law passed in 2018 allowing the advertisement of these products.
Although China has strict policies prohibiting the use and possession of cannabis, the country is one of the world’s largest hemp producers. Hemp cultivation has existed in China for thousands of years, used to make clothing and traditional medicine, and the country has quickly become a robust source of hemp-based CBD products.
Thailand is considered to be a competitive player in Asia’s cannabis and hemp industry, estimated to be worth anywhere from $46 to $312 million dollars by the year 2024, according to a report by Cannabis Catalysts.
Privately owned companies looking to enter this market must work closely with Thai government-controlled institutions, making it difficult to receive a license if you are not a Thai citizen. After the issuance of 442 licenses at the beginning of 2020, the medical cannabis market may face delays in supply chain development with a lack of regulatory framework to support all licenses.
South Korea passed medical cannabis legislation in early 2019, shocking most of the world with an unprecedented move towards tolerance. The system of production, distribution and sale is tightly regulated and patients have to be diagnosed with a condition that does not have a comparable medication. Patients have to apply with the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety and can retrieve medical cannabis from the Korean Orphan Drug Center.
The Philippines Committee on Health has expressed support of medical cannabis legislation. With the recent release of House Bill 180, prospects for qualifying conditions, cultivation, distribution, and sale are all being considered. Cannabis is still widely prohibited in the Philippines, but could become one of the more tolerant Asian countries toward medical cannabis use.