Cannabis — whether marijuana or hemp—and its derivative products are generally illegal in Asia, but there are varying degrees of social acceptance and government enforcement of laws. The same is true for the Pacific island countries. In the island country of Fiji, for example, even the sale of medical marijuana is penalized.

The legal status [VIDEO] of marijuana and other related products varies around the world. Some countries have more liberal regulations while others have strict or even draconian rules.

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Many fall somewhere in between.

However, the complexity of the situation does not end there. It also has something to do with political subdivisions and cultural acceptance.

For instance, in countries with federal systems of government like the United States, the state-level, and federal-level regulations often clash against each other.

Potential market

Despite the legal and cultural complications, some countries in Asia are potential markets for marijuana and cannabidiol (CBD) products should these countries decide to legalize cannabis. These countries have cultures that are tolerant and even acceptant of the use of cannabis.

Diamond CBD is among the CBD companies that have the capacity to supply this potential market. The existing distribution networks and online platform of the company can easily be accessed from these countries.

As it expands its reach, PotNetwork Holding (OTCMKTS: POTN) is expected to earn more than $30 million in revenues for the 2019 fiscal year.

The company is planning to expand its sales to the international market, such as in China where it plans to enter with a partner. The company is also looking at the possibility of a market in South America, possibly in Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Ecuador.

Diamond CBD raked more than $270,000 in record sales during the 37th CHAMP Trade Show in Las Vegas from Feb. 19 to 21. The company has been consistently successful in conferences and trade shows similar to this, which help it reach a wider customer base and potential consumers and investors.

POTN as a company has been performing well in the past few years. It posted nearly $14.5 million in revenues last year through Diamond CBD, which exceeded by 80 percent the target sales of $8.3 million.

As a company that focuses on research and development of hemp-derived products, consumers are assured of top quality items. Its premium hemp extracts have various cannabinoids and other natural derivatives with a range of health benefits. Its wide range of products include edibles [VIDEO] like gummies, tinctures, vapes, creams and pet products.

China

Although both recreational and medical marijuana, as well as hemp, are illegal in China, prescription CBD products are allowed. Just last year, Chinese Investors announced the launch of the first CBD online store in Chinese language, Cbd Oil Biotech.

China has a large potential market for CBD products. Almost 10 million citizens in China are diagnosed with epilepsy. Synthetic medications for epilepsy are available, but the Chinese government is also encouraging the use of natural medicines like CBD.

Over the past years, two provinces in China legalized the plantation of industrial hemp, with Yunnan being the first one. The province of Hei Longjiang became the second province in the country to legalize industrial hemp but with specific requirements. The regulations in both provinces allowed the planting, processing, and selling of hemp on a large scale.

Australia

Since 2016 Australia has allowed the non-prescription use of CBD oil extracts. Since then, many CBD companies have established their operations. One of the most recent companies to set up business in the land down under is Cronos Group, a Canadian company. It has announced this month the first phase of its production facility worth $8 million. The company plans to build a 20,000 square-foot facility that is scheduled to be finished by 2019. It intends to produce 2,000 kilograms of medical cannabis each year to supply more than 5,000 Australian patients.

Cambodia

In terms of cultural or social acceptance, cannabis use in Cambodia is very popular among the youth despite the legal ban. So, it is technically illegal in Cambodia to cultivate, sell, buy, use and merely possess marijuana but the law is unenforced.

Local residents and tourists can casually buy or even smoke marijuana in public. Because of this public tolerance, the country’s capital, Phnom Penh has the reputation of being a global center for cannabis. You can find restaurants that sell marijuana and food items with cannabis as part of the ingredients.

India

India is another country in Asia where the law strictly prohibits marijuana, but the enforcement is somewhat lethargic. India’s public tolerance for cannabis is culturally rooted in religion, particularly in relation to the Hindu festival of Holi. Traditionally, this festival requires cannabis-infused milk known as Bhang. The religious Hindus believe that this milk is a divine drink. As a result, many stores openly sell marijuana.

Aside from the festival of Holi, another religious reason for the de-facto government tolerance is the fact that many followers of the god Shiva are users of cannabis. Shiva himself has the title of the “Lord of Bhang.” These followers gather year-round at the holy site at Varanasi. Government agents are not allowed on the site.

Myanmar

Myanmar is a geographically close neighbor of India. Many Indians immigrate to Myanmar for various reasons such as trying to find jobs or getting married. About two percent of the 53 million plus population of Myanmar are Indians. Consequently, the Burmese-Indians have significant political clout.

When the country was still under the British Empire, cannabis was strictly banned. However, the British Empire also brought in many Indian workers who later demanded Cannabis Legalization. When the British rule ended, the government policies on cannabis remained officially the same but in reality not fully enforced. The federal government recognized the cultural significance of cannabis to Indian immigrants.

Japan

Japan is another country in the Asia-Pacific region that is culturally tolerant of cannabis but has strict laws against it. Mere possession of cannabis in Japan results in a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.

On the other hand, archeological evidence suggests that the Japanese people have been using cannabis as part of their diet since the Stone Age. This changed after World War II when the victorious U.S. imposed laws against hemp production in Japan. It was only during the 70s and 80s that marijuana became popular among the young Japanese.