Hemp makes its comeback in Thailand

Thailand Since 2014, the Thai government has issued special permits allowing the cultivation of hemp. However, the hemp seed itself has remained illegal, leading to practical problems that still need to be solved. Alan Dronkers, who lives in Thailand, reports on this case.


On the 19th of September 2015, the Thai Highland Magazine organised an information day about hemp in Thailand.

Thailand has set up royal initiatives to investigate hemp and initiated a program aiming to develop a hemp seed strain suitable for industrial use. The program which started over 10 years ago involved the participation of foreign institutions, including breeders from the agricultural university of Wageningen in the Netherlands and has recently come to an end. I was very fortunate to be able to visit a Royal Institute for Agriculture near the Northern city of Chiang Mai where I was able to visit a field producing their new hemp strain.

A cultural heritage

Alan Dronkers sitting on a hemp chair, wearing clothes made out of hemp
Alan Dronkers sitting on a hemp chair, wearing clothes made out of hemp

Until last year, hemp could only be grown legally In Thailand by the hill tribe known as the Hmong for religious use. The plants they cultivate are true hemp with a low THC profile and their fibres are considered holy. These are used to produce clothing which is believed to enable the recently deceased to reunite with their ancestors in the afterlife. These traditional clothes still play an important role and are used at funerals and weddings.

Since 2014, the Thai government has issued special permits allowing the cultivation of hemp. However, the hemp seed itself has remained illegal, leading to practical problems that still need to be solved. A fear that cannabis plants with high THC levels being secretly grown in the hemp fields remains for police and the authorities even though doing so would spoil any attempt at making good Sinsemilla. Nevertheless. the Thai can be very practical and pragmatic at finding solutions and the royal endorsement in researching the topic of hemp has established a solid base for true developments in the field.

My conclusions

I am overall very optimistic and happy to see all this happening and try to be helpful for any local initiatives involving fibre hemp. I was one of the invited guest to this meeting as a Hempflax representative, now the second largest primary processor of hemp fibre in Europe. As such, I was able to provide information about how hemp as a large scale industrial crop works. I hope this will lead to initiatives aiming to set up a hemp processing industry and mechanise the agricultural process to allow Thailand to become competitive on an international level. This will allow the return of this ancient crop to Thailand and further enhance their vision of a society of sufficiency based upon sustainable natural resources.

Hemp could once again be seen as an important crop of the future, as it already was here in the past.

My thumbs up for Thai hemp!

Alan Dronkers in front the Thai Royal Institute for Agriculture
Alan Dronkers in front the Thai Royal Institute for Agriculture

 

Comment Section

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Erwin Alber

Thank you for this Alan!

I just came across this:

Thai Cabinet approves hemp farming in Thailand in Secret. A crop worth its weight

Do you know if hemp would grow between Pranburi and Hua Hin in Prachuap Khirikhan?

I would also love to know where I can get some hemp seed from to try to grow a few plants.

12/05/2016

Rob

I would also like to find a source for seeds. I live in N. Thailand close to a couple of Hmong villages, but have been reluctant to approach them for hemp seeds. Good article above.

09/08/2018

IIHA India

really interesting information...thanks

25/05/2016

Biggs

I think hemp in Thailand would be great. I have several thousand rais ready to farm in the northeast region , but i able to contact any for help.

Can you diret me to the proper agency, or someone who is interested in a massaive project please contact me.

24/07/2016

freeflie

Hi BIGGS, i have also been interested for quite some time...but unable to find the needed info on how, where, who, etc. Just wondering whether you have found something since your comment...cheers

05/11/2016

steve

biggs please contact me

04/01/2017

Daniel

Love the article
Thanks

05/01/2017

Paul

Can anyone tell me if CBD (low or only trace amounts of THC) is legally available yet in Thailand?

Google doesn't seem to want to play when I search.

Paul

26/12/2016

Mr. Youngtai Cho

Dear Sir,

Could you let me know where I can buy a pack(500 gr) of Hemp Seed.
I need to buy it right a way. I am eating this hemp seed together with
fresh milk as dinner on every evening in repalce of regular meal.
I have checked it Bic-C, Rimping super market in Chiang Mai./
I arrived at Chiang Mai for 2 month healing vacation, we are 80 years old couple.
Thank in advanc for your help

Yours Sincerely,

Youngtai Cho

29/12/2016

Vcm

Hey Alan,
Can anyone visit the royal institute to see the hemp field? Are there guides?

02/03/2018

Scarlet Palmer

Hi there,

I'm afraid I don't know the answer to this question, but I will forward it to Alan.

With best wishes,

Scarlet

05/03/2018

Alan Dronkers

Dear readers,
Hereby a little update. It has been decided here that first government related companies can start production of the crop. I understand that the Thai Tobacco Monopoly is one of the organisations that is looking into this. As far as genetics go, it is the seed (industrial low THC variety) from the royal Highland institute that will be allowed to use. At the same time possible tests of EU registered hemp varieties is also discussed here. I have not heard of public tours around hemp projects here in Thailand but there is many Hmong communities in the mountain areas that grow this crop traditionally. Thank you all for your comments!
Greetings,

Alan Dronkers

07/03/2018

Dagta

Hi Alan Donkers, I am Dagta the founder of this underground movement here in the PH called HIBLA HempMovement

I was just wondering if there are any possibilities for a fellow ASEAN-residing neighbor(PH) to fly to Thailand and grow Industrial hemp there as a 'self-imposed exile'? I cant think of any better way to live my life, I just want to farm hemp, that is ALL. Please pm me if you have any leads or if you know of any farm looking for farmers to help out. I have no experience growing any Cannabis but Im fond of other vegetables and mushroom growing.. If you may check our page, all the original posts there are also authored by me..

Please consider. Thank you!

HEMP FOR VICTORY
HEMP PARA SA TAGUMPAY

04/06/2018

Dagta

Is there any possibility for a fellow ASEAN-residing neighbor(PH) to fly to Thailand and grow Industrial hemp there as an 'exile'? I cant think of any better way to live my life, I just want to farm hemp, please pm me if you have any leads or if you know of any farm looking for farmers to help out. thank you!

04/06/2018

Alan Dronkers

Dear Dagta,
As far as I understand there is only government companies at this point allowed to grow and process Cannabis and this is not yet happening also. So apart from seed development by the Highland institute we still have to wait for products for patients or industrial applications. I don't expect at this point that this will develop in a very free market.
Wish you success and good luck with everything at HIBLA and I hope people in the Philippines also will have access to Cannabis based medicines soon.

Salamat

Alan Dronkers

04/06/2018

Chee Yee

I am from Malaysia. I been following industrial hemp news with keen interest quite sometime and grown a few plant at home but made the mistake of not keeping the seed to propagate it for continuation. Now that the govt have made it illegal to bring the hull hemp seed in for health market. I no longer able to grow it with the intention to work in liaison with a NGO hemptech malaysia to exchange data with a university.
Is there a way I in which I can obtain some seed here in Thailand to make it possible for me to buy it.

09/05/2019

Scarlet Palmer

Hi there,

Thank you for your comment, I am sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately I do not know the answer to your question, perhaps one of our readers does? I wish you the best of luck with your projects!

With best wishes,

Scarlet

13/05/2019

Kelly Brown

Can anyone help please as we are looking for companies and for hemp farmers as we are very fond of hemp clothing. We need a list of names and contact details off all Thai companies and farmers who are involved with hemp for fibre.
Thanks in advance.

15/05/2019

Scarlet Palmer

Hi Kelly,

Thanks for your comment. I'm afraid I don't have the information that you are looking for, but perhaps one of our blog readers does? You could also try contacting the Hemp Industries Association (https://thehia.org/) as they have many international partner associations and may be able to help you. For hemp clothing generally, I do suggest you have a look at Hoodlamb and also THTC . I wish you all success with your project!

With best wishes,

Scarlet

16/05/2019

Rosalie

Dear Alan, dear Scarlet,

could you let me know your source for that:
"Since 2014, the Thai government has issued special permits allowing the cultivation of hemp."

All the information I find points toward 2016, when the government permitted hemp cultivation in six provinces.

Thanks very much!
Rosalie

17/06/2019

Scarlet Palmer

Hi Rosalie,

Thank you for your comment. I have reached out to Alan, who wrote this article, for a source. In the meantime, I hope you continue to enjoy the blog.

With best wishes,

Scarlet

18/06/2019

Scarlet Palmer

Hi again Rosalie,

I have received a reply from Alan, in which he says that the first law change was in 2014 and it's possible that the six provinces came in in 2016. I hope that this answers your question.

With best wishes,

Scarlet

24/06/2019

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