Thailand became the first country in South-East Asia to approve the use of medical marijuana last year, and the first facility growing it opened in Pathum Thani province, north of the capital, Bangkok, in February.
The Government Pharmaceutical Organisation (gpo), a state enterprise, has burned 100m baht ($3.1m) on the place. The indoor farm covers 100 square metres and its aeroponic system bathes plants in pinkish light for up to 20 hours a day.
Advanced scanners and other gadgets prevent thieves from grabbing them. The first batch of 2,500 bottles of sublingual allergy drops—each containing 5ml of the product—should appear in July.
The plantation is part of an attempt by the military government to create a national industry around medicinal marijuana.
Under the new law, only official agencies and their partners can grow it. But the five-star, high-tech facility has caused some amusement and irritation in a country in which weed is available for as little as 10 baht ($0.30) a gram on the streets. (The same quantity would cost $10 in America.)
Critics on social media have come out swinging. “Such overkill, all for show. Anyone could outgrow these non-smokers with just $20,000,” wrote one disgruntled Facebook user.