We talked with one of the co-founders of RG420 on the dispensary’s ‘new experience’ approach, their focus on pantry items, and more

Photo: RG420
Photo: RG420

We recently caught up with one of the men behind RG420, a proudly Thai-born-and-based cannabis brand with dispensaries across the country. The store’s concept focuses on the “new experience,” and, as they put it, the goal is for customers to, well, have a new experience every time they visit the dispensary. One of the main points that distinguishes RG420 within the (to be honest, heavily-saturated) market, though, is their focus on “pantry items.” In our virtual chat, one of RG420’s co-founders relayed the story behind the dispensary’s establishment, as well as the benefits of sourcing products right from their own local farm and factory.

  1. Hi! Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Mr. Natworaphakkhathorn Phongthanathanakorn, and I am the executive director at RG420 Thailand. I’ve lived in Bangkok for over 20 years.

  1. Tell us a bit about RG420’s origins! What inspired you to start a dispensary, how long have you been in business? And please explain the name to us!

The name RG420 comes from “raggan,” which means “cannabis conservation.”

I initially had an agricultural products business where I sold things like fertilizer, herbicide, and insecticides. However, during COVID, our business obviously slowed down, so I was looking for new business opportunities. I got the idea to expand into cannabis and hemp and realized it would be a blue ocean strategy (Editor’s Note: in business terms, a “blue ocean strategy” is when you try to gain previously uncontested market space separate from other businesses in that industry, or in other words, try to gain space in a “blue ocean,” which is in contrast to “red ocean” spaces where competition is fierce). I wanted to supply our products to cannabis farmers and expand the business into cannabis-process products. From there, I met my partner who just happened to own a cannabis farm — it really felt like destiny, and we formed a good relationship, and so RG420 Dispensary was formed. We officially started the business on July 29, 2022.

  1. In addition to your dispensaries, you guys also have your own cannabis farm and factory. Can you tell readers a bit about the different kinds of products that are produced on a farm vs in a factory? Also, what are your biggest challenges in running your own farm and factory?

Our farm allows us to produce our organic and 100 percent original Thai-grown strains Sativa Gandang, Sativa Phetchaburi, and Sativa Tanawsri. In regards to our factory, since we started in this business, we’ve diversified into processed products relating to food, drink, and wellness categories, which we then supply to stores around the country, including our own.

  1. What new product ideas do you have in the works?

I have plans to produce new products under a full range of services. For food, we have plans to develop RTE (ready-to-eat) or instant products to TT (traditional trade), for convenience stores, or for export in the future. For weed, we have plans to breed new strains. For drinks, we plan to produce new products RTD (ready-to-drink) to TT (traditional trade) for convenience stores. For wellness, we have business plans under the concept that while other people see [cannabis] as a drug, but we see it as medicine.

  1. Your business model emphasizes the importance of creating community, connecting with local suppliers and customers. In your experience, has the overall Thai population’s attitude towards cannabis changed a lot in the last year since cannabis became legal?

I think more and more people now understand how to safely use cannabis. That being said, there are still people who actively oppose recreational use of cannabis and/or dispensaries in general, mainly because they’re still only honing in on the potential “negative” side-effects of smoking.

  1. We’ve heard CSR is an important value for RG420. What does CSR mean to you and what initiatives or projects are you pursuing in the name of giving back to the community?

In order to give back to the community, we’ve begun setting aside a portion of our profits to donate towards funds set up by people in the local communities that need treatment money for illnesses such as cancer.

  1. You already have two dispensaries in Bangkok as well as several others around Thailand. Do you have any plans for future expansions?

Yes, we plan to expand nationwide and open dispensaries around the country’s main tourist attractions. We also want to establish ourselves as competitive wholesalers in every province in Thailand.

You can find out more information about RG420 — including their locations and full menu — via their website or Instagram, or by phone at 0995394914 or 0899759868.

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