The state tobacco enterprise is licking its lips over the prospect of churning out cannabis cigarettes – just as soon as health officials give the OK.
With an eye toward the day joints are as readily available in bought convenience stores as tobacco, it has proposed production of CBD smokes, all wreathed in a smokescreen of “health benefits” because, of course, there’s nothing Big Tobacco cares about more than public health.
“Our main intention when requesting a license had to do with the medical benefits, research and extracting the oils to export to other countries. … but if the Ministry of Health lets us produce cigarettes, we are ready to do so immediately,” said Daonoi Suttiniphapunt, Tobacco Authority managing director.
She said the cigarettes the authority would produce, if approved, would likely contain primarily CBD – the non-psychoactive compound that doesn’t get one high.
As cannabis decriminalization spreads through the United States, CBD is the product more socially conservative states such as Texas and Utah have found they can support for its medical benefits.
Dispensaries there sell it in oil, powder, liquid and cigarette form.
Earlier this year, the Tobacco Authority said it would help tobacco growers switch to their crops to cannabis since cigarette sales are expected to fall further due to tax hikes. Daonoi said cigarette profits may shrink by another THB400 million to 500 million (US$13 million to $16 million) this year.
Seems like the state enterprise – until recently known as the Tobacco Monopoly – is already looking for ways to make up those losses.
The authority was established in 1939 for the government to operate the tobacco industry directly. According to the recently revised tobacco regulations, private or public firms doing related business can be set up with up to 49 percent of foreign shareholders.