Food Chain in Thailand Promotes Cannabis Crazy Happy Pizza
A popular fast-food chain in Thailand has been promoting its Crazy Happy Pizza, which comes with a marijuana leaf on top. The product is legal but won’t make you high.
In an interview, Panusak Suensatboon, general manager of The Pizza Company, said, “Of course, they cannot get high.” “This is just a marketing campaign. Maybe if you have enough pizza, you might get sleepy.”
Crazy Happy Pizza combines Thai Tom Yum Gai soup flavors with a deep-fried cannabis leaf on top to create a fusion of flavors. The cheese crust is also infused with cannabis, and the dipping sauce has cannabis chopped up. Pizza’s cost 499 baht (about $15). Do-it-yourselfers can choose their own toppings, with an additional charge of 100 baht ($3) for two or three cannabis leaves.
Cannabis in Thailand has been liberalized
Cannabis is used primarily as hemp for making rope and clothing, but it is also used as a drug, known as marijuana, dagga, pot, and ganja.
Recently, a middle-ground product has emerged: cannabidiol, a chemical found in cannabis that can be turned into what has been dubbed a cure-all medicine. The chemical in cannabis that produces marijuana’s high, tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — can be separated from CBD.
With CBD, cannabis products have been legitimized, taking advantage of the mystique of marijuana without flouting the law or raising health concerns. The industry is booming, especially in the United States.
Even though drug laws in Thailand have been liberalized in the past few years, recreational marijuana is still illegal and can result in a fine and jail time. A small number of cannabis plants may be grown for personal consumption by individuals. Cannabis is regulated for medicinal purposes.
The Thai government last December delisted specific parts and extracts of cannabis from its controlled narcotics list, and this February allowed them to be used in food and beverages. CBD products cannot contain more than 0.2% THC, virtually eliminating the possibility of getting high from them.
Although cannabis products were already a cottage industry before being decriminalized in Thailand, their adoption by The Pizza Company — operated by Minor Food Group, a subsidiary of Minor International — puts them on the big stage.
Cannabis Pizza not for minors
Panusak says that Crazy Happy Pizza is available at all of The Pizza Company’s Thai branches, but sales have been lacking. Several obstacles stand in its way — it cannot be advertised or sold to anyone under the age of 12. Approximately a fifth of the cannabis leaves the company acquired will have to be thrown out when its sales promotion ends.
Currently, I do not believe the market is ready for cannabis products. “We knew this was the case from the outset,” said Panusak. We were only trying to be the first ones to introduce something new to the market.” He cited the company’s durian pizza, which included the exotic and pricey tropical Asian fruit known for its pungent aroma as another example of innovation.
He said, “We try to use new ingredients, anything in fashion, and we want people to talk about it.”
The dean of Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Business School, associate professor Wilert Puriwat, believes the use of cannabis for marketing can be effective in an initial stage, but business owners must have strategies to make it work in the long run.
“Generally, people who try it won’t expect to get high,” he said. “They just want to stay trendy and post photos on their social media to prove that they have done something previously illegal.”
According to Puriwat, cannabis has an emotional value that builds on its core value. “Which is why people shouldn’t come to your restaurant to buy cannabis, but for your food and service.”
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