Of course, 420-friendly Thailand’s first ‘hemp expo’ is really about getting high

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts
Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

Thanaporn Pornsangakul motioned passers-by toward her booth, where she demonstrated a new shampoo and soap made from CBD, the non-psychoactive part of cannabis that’s widely touted as a panacea.

But Thanaporn’s shampoo, which she was showing off inside a large convention center alongside 120 or so other booths ostensibly promoting “hemp,” was not intended for people – but their pets.

“Through our research, we found the No. 1 problem when it comes to taking care of pets – skincare,” Thanaporn Pornsangakul said soberly. “Pet owners tend to buy products filled with steroids, which lead to allergic reactions. CBD, however, relaxes the skin.”

Anyone who attended the first day of the first Asia International Hemp Expo yesterday expecting to find a budding industry teasing innovations in biofuels, textiles, and foodstuffs quickly realized that “hemp,” the cannabis plant fiber that’s also been decriminalized, is still just a euphemism for marijuana.

Beside the pet shampoo people –- and a neighboring booth hawking a CBD mousse spray and balm for dogs and cats – most everything was dedicated to the cultivation and consumption of cannabis. This was a convention for the blooming industry of people looking to get you legally high.

And the lingering, dank scent of vaporized weed coming from nearly every booth suggested they wanted to as well.

There were rolling papers, weed trimmers, grinders, bongs, and edibles. For growers, booths sold cannabis seeds, growing lights (so many growing lights), hydroponic tech, greenhouses, and more.

To dispel any doubts this wasn’t about getting stoned, one booth sold golden rolling papers branded “Snoop DO Double G.”

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts
Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

CBD played an elevated role as well, from oils, inhalers and gummies to cosmetics. Every booth preached the same gospel: CBD is therapeutic and can help you relax.

One neglected corner of the convention center was dedicated to actual industrial hemp, where the stuff was made into everyday objects – with government support –  including textiles, surf skates, and even auto parts like a hemp-built car bumper.

Photo: Nicky Tanskul / Coconuts

The expo ends Saturday. Tickets area THB300 online. There are a variety of discussion panels to check out in both Thai and English with industry figures weighing on on topics ranging from legalization and farming to future challenges environmental harm, but those tickets cost THB15,000.

Asia Hemp Expo

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