What impact do GACP and GMP standards have on Thailand’s cannabis cultivators?
In the realm of cannabis cultivation, adherence to GACP (Good Agricultural and Collection Practices) is essential, especially for growers eyeing export or medical markets.
GACP offers a comprehensive set of guidelines spanning the entire cultivation lifecycle, from seeds to sales, and ensures consumers that the entire cultivation followed a quality cultivation. It places emphasis on well-trained staff, compliance with local regulations, which govern fertilization, storage, handling, and packaging, as well as a mandate for transparent and documented processes. The primary goal is to consistently deliver a safe and reliable product to the market.
In Thailand, cannabis holds medicinal recognition, whether recreational or pharmaceutical. Thus, growers are advised to adhere to GACP and, for processors, GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), despite these standards not currently being mandatory in Thailand. (although we do expect that after the passing of the cannabis act C.E. 2024 or B.E. 2567, it will be mandatory for all cannabis sold in Thailand).
Early compliance with these guidelines can give growers a competitive edge, positioning them favorably when these standards are enforced in 2024. By taking proactive steps now, they reduce the risk of errors that could render their products unsuitable for market or jeopardize their licenses.
Such proactive measures not only mitigate potential PR and sales crises but also safeguard brand reputation.
For consumers, purchasing products labeled with GACP ensures the end product’s production in a hygienic and secure environment, consistency across batches (including potency), and fundamentally safe consumption.
Which standard to adopt?
The EU-GACP is hailed as the gold standard, extending to all medicinal herbs imported into the EU, including cannabis. Meeting these EU standards opens doors to virtually any market. In contrast, neither the USA nor Canada has a similarly universally recognized standard, leading to anecdotal instances of import restrictions on exports from these countries.
Regrettably, many cultivators, particularly those from legacy or North American markets, overlook the importance of GACP and GMP standards, opting for minimal compliance with local requirements.
For Thai cultivators moving toward GACP and GMP standards, considering the path to EU compliance is prudent for potential market expansion. It’s advisable to consult regulatory experts to understand the additional requirements for meeting EU standards. The added effort may yield substantial long-term benefits.
We note that while the EU GACP standard is the one to aim for, the Thai GACP standard is actually more specific and getting Thai GACP certified by GACP Asia will ensure that you have Europe as a market.
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