Things are looking up for cannabis. The global market sat at $18 billion in 2021 and by 2030 it is expected to be nearly $50 billion!
This is a big opportunity that Thailand is determined to cash in on.
In fact, the Thai cannabis market is estimated to be worth $1.2 billion by the year 2025 according to the University of Thai Chamber Of Commerce.
The Thai Cannabis Plants’ Gold Rush
Those of you here on the ground in Thailand will note that since Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul indicated that the Thai cannabis industry would be open for business for medical use and public health measures – there’s been something of a gold rush in the cannabis market here in Thailand.
Even though recreational use has not, yet, been officially legalized, cannabis products have been available for sale in marijuana dispensaries and clinics on nearly every street corner.
The author has five such dispensaries within a, very literal, five-minute walk from his front door in Chiang Mai.
There are dozens more across the city and hundreds more across Thailand.
Likewise, the Thai government has seen a deluge of applications from would-be marijuana growers and cannabis providers moving into the commercial (and personal) growing space.
One of the best-known “ganjapreneurs” in the country is Kitty Chopaka who has been working around the clock to make the drug legal in Thailand’s conservative culture.
She has also tried to ensure that everyone who wanted to get in on the act of Thailand’s nascent weed scene could do so.
The Challenge And The Opportunity
Getting into cannabis has been relatively easy and while the focus is on medical marijuana rather than recreational drug use of cannabis, the initial three months since legalization have shown us that cannabis is here to stay and that the country may already have too many entrepreneurs looking to bring Thai tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to the world.
Street prices of cannabis are already falling due to the high levels of competition and most of the cannabis here at the moment since the change of regulations is international grade as the local crops have barely had a chance to start moving onto the market.
That means that it’s not going to be enough in the long-term to earn a baht just by selling or growing cannabis, it’s going to be essential to build a brand.
Enter The Power Of Merchandising For Cannabis In Thailand
And that’s where merchandising comes in.
Retailers can use merchandising to differentiate their brands from competitors’ offerings.
Tourists love to buy t-shirts and even younger visitors who may not be old enough to smoke like the thought of advertising the plant and its illicit (though not illegal) appeal on clothing as it makes their friends think they’re cool and so on…
In the US, where the market is more mature, we’re already seeing the emergence of “the best cannabis fashion” lists.
A sure sign that the cannabis business is good is when you can put hemp leaves on a t-shirt and still sell that in addition to selling weed.
You can also be sure that no matter how many shifts in government policy regarding legalization there are – selling t-shirts, hats, trousers, etc. will remain legal in the country essentially future-proofing a brand against changes in drugs laws.
The public loves merch and who are we to disappoint them?
There is a big opportunity for first movers in this market to build brand loyalty, protect themselves against market change and, in the long run, drive up their revenue per sale by investing in marijuana merchandise.