x

Food

Thai Chain’s Cannabis Pizza: Trendy but Won’t Get You High

November 26, 2021

By CHALIDA EKVITTHAYAVECHNUKUL Associated Press

BANGKOK (AP) — One of Thailand’s major fast food chains has been promoting its “Crazy Happy Pizza” this month, an under-the-radar product topped with a cannabis leaf. It’s legal but won’t get you high.

Veterans of the backpacker trail, familiar with the legendary pizza parlors of neighboring Cambodia’s capital Phnom Penh that offer powerful marijuana as an optional condiment, might feel downright cheated.

“Of course, they cannot get high,” Panusak Suensatboon, general manager of The Pizza Company, said in an interview this week. “It’s just a marketing campaign. and you can taste the cannabis and then if you have enough, you maybe get a bit sleepy.”

The Crazy Happy Pizza is a mashup of toppings evoking the flavors of Thailand’s famous Tom Yum Gai soup along with a deep-fried cannabis leaf on top. Cannabis is also infused into the cheese crust and there’s chopped cannabis in the dipping sauce. A 9-inch pie costs 499 baht (about $15). Customers preferring a do-it-yourself variety can choose their own toppings, with a 100 baht ($3) surcharge for two or three cannabis leaves.

The cannabis plant has been used for two major purposes: as hemp for making rope and clothing, and as an intoxicating drug, known as pot, ganja and dagga.

In recent years, a kind of middle-ground product has emerged: cannabidiol, or CBD, a chemical found in cannabis that can be processed into what is touted as a cure-all medicine. CBD can be separated out from tetrahydrocannabinol — THC — the chemical in cannabis that produces marijuana’s high.

CBD has legitimized products made with cannabis, drawing on the mystique of marijuana without flouting the law or raising major health questions. It’s become a boom industry, especially in the United States.

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Thailand, and can earn you a fine and time in jail, even though drug laws have been liberalized in the past few years. Cannabis is regulated for medicinal use, and individuals are allowed to grow a small number of plants for their own consumption.

Thailand last December became the first country in Southeast Asia to remove specific parts and extracts of cannabis from its controlled narcotics list, and in February this year allowed them to be used in foods and beverages. The amount of THC in the CBD product must not exceed 0.2% of its total weight, virtually eliminating the possibility of getting high.

Cannabis products even before being decriminalized had become a cottage industry in Thailand, but their adoption by The Pizza Company — operated by Minor Food Group, a subsidiary of the Stock Exchange of Thailand-listed Minor International — boosts them into the commercial big-time.

Crazy Happy Pizza has been available at all of The Pizza Company’s branches in Thailand, but sales have been lackluster, according to Panusak. It has faced several handicaps — it cannot legally be advertised or sold to anyone under the age of 12. He estimates that when the company ends its sales promotion on Tuesday, it will have to throw away about a fifth of the cannabis leaves it acquired.

“I don’t think the market is ready for cannabis products yet. We knew this since the beginning,” said Panusak. “We only wanted to be the first mover to launch something new and innovative in the market.” He cited durian pizza, incorporating the exotic and pricey tropical Asian fruit known for its pungent smell, as another example of his company’s innovations.

“We try to get some new ingredients, anything that is in trend, and we use it and we want people to talk about it,” he said.

Associate professor Wilert Puriwat, dean of Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn Business School, believes that using cannabis for marketing can be effective in an initial stage, but business owners need strategies to make it work in the long run.

“In general, people who try it will not expect to get high,” he said. “They just want to keep themselves trendy and take photos to post on their social media to show they have tried something that was once illegal.”

He said cannabis has an emotional value that builds on a product’s core value. “When people walk into your restaurant, they should come for your food and service, not for cannabis.”

RELATED

RETHYMNO – Domisi Development CEO Stavros Kapetanakis spoke with The National Herald about the Crete-based company that designs and builds detached houses and tourist complexes and about Crete Holiday Home.

Top Stories

Columnists

A pregnant woman was driving in the HOV lane near Dallas.

General News

NEW YORK – Meropi Kyriacou, the new Principal of The Cathedral School in Manhattan, was honored as The National Herald’s Educator of the Year.

Video

2 Germans, a Spaniard and a Senegalese Killed in Building Collapse in Spain’s Mallorca Island

MADRID (AP) — Spain's National Police on Friday gave details on four people killed when a building housing a bar and restaurant club collapsed on the island of Mallorca.

NEW YORK – The New York Times has reported that “an aide to Mayor Eric Adams who served as his longtime liaison to the Turkish community has turned against him and is cooperating with the corruption investigation into Mr.

BOSTON – Crowds flocked to the Greek Festival of the St.

The news about air travel lately hasn't been pleasant.

Beyond the issues in Crete and our own in America, as we wrote in our ‘Analysis’ in last week’s edition, Patriarch Bartholomew has unfortunately ensnared himself in problems with the majority of local Orthodox Churches worldwide, with few exceptions such as those of Greece, Alexandria, and Cyprus, due to the granting of Autocephaly to Ukraine, which has proven to be ill-timed and ill-suited.

Enter your email address to subscribe

Provide your email address to subscribe. For e.g. [email protected]

You may unsubscribe at any time using the link in our newsletter.