Regulations & License Requirements
In the first part of the Thailand Country Report, we covered the history of cannabis in Thailand and the evolution of the regulatory landscape until the removal of cannabis from the Category 5 Narcotics list on June 9th, 2022. In this part, we’ll cover what the regulations are in place at the moment, as well as provide a guide to cultivating cannabis in Thailand.
Since the surprise announcement in June 2022, Thais have taken full advantage of this legal grey area while awaiting the long-anticipated Cannabis Bill. As you read this, on Bangkok’s Khao San Road street side tables are groaning under the weight of piles of buds.
Thailand’s tropical climate is ideal for growing cannabis, and the government wants to make a splash in the market for medical cannabis. It is projected to boost everything from national income to small farmers’ livelihoods. “We should know how to use cannabis,” Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul, the country’s biggest cannabis supporter, said. “If we have the right awareness, cannabis is like gold, something valuable, and should be promoted.”
With this vision in mind, let’s explore what regulations are governing this bustling industry in Thailand:
Removal of Cannabis and Hemp Plants from the Category 5 Narcotics List on 9th June, 2022
On 9th June, 2022, 120 days after its publication in the Royal Gazette, the Thai Food and Drug Administration officially removed cannabis and hemp plants from the Category 5 narcotics list. Thailand’s health minister Anutin Charnvirakul started to distribute free cannabis plants to households across the country. The move is said to be a step further into Thailand’s plan to use cannabis as a cash crop. Around 4,200 prisoners were released as a result of the decriminalisation on the same day.
Nevertheless, extractions from the cannabis plant are still categorized as Category 5 Narcotics, along with poppy plants (Papaver somniferum L.) and psilocybin. The exemptions to this are:
- Cannabis extractions with THC less than 0.2% by weight, that have been granted permission to be extracted from cannabis/hemp plants grown in Thailand
- Cannabis/hemp seed oil from cannabis/hemp plants grown in Thailand
Regulations Governing Cannabis/Hemp use in public areas
While recreational cannabis has been actively frowned upon by the Ministry of Public Health, there were no immediate laws in place to prevent recreational cannabis smoking.
In the Public Nuisance Announcement B.E. 2565 (2022) on 14th June, the MOPH specified that the act of creating cannabis or hemp smoke in public is considered a public nuisance and can be charged accordingly. The Department of Health said that the regulation is aimed at preventing recreational use of cannabis/hemp and the causing of nuisance and health hazards to others.
In another announcement by the MOPH on 16th June 2022, Cannabis and hemp effectively became classified as a Controlled Herb with the following rules:
- Those over the age of 20 are able to possess, cultivate, distribute and sell controlled herbs with the exception of the following activities:
- Smoking in public spaces
- Consumption by pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Selling to pregnant or breastfeeding women
While these laws aim to curb the recreational use of cannabis products, there are still many loopholes, and a bustling grey market. Nevertheless, certain licenses are required for certain activities, such as selling of cannabis products. Import and export of cannabis are still highly regulated.
License Requirements for Cannabis Cultivation in Thailand
There are currently no license requirements for the cultivation of hemp and cannabis, however, the government urges people to register their cannabis plantation on the website or the app Plookganja. At the moment, Plookganja requires a Thai identity card number for registration on the app. There is currently no restriction on how many plants each individual can cultivate, nor on the THC content for cannabis plant parts, including flowers. Cultivators can choose from the following purposes of cultivation:
- For healthcare benefits
- For use in Traditional Thai medicine to treat patients
- For commercial purposes
- For research
Depending on the category of the final product: Food products, cosmetic products, herbal products, further regulations are specified by the following FDA departments: Food Division, Cosmetic Control Group and Herbal Food Products Division, respectively.
The sales of other product categories, such as cannabis flowers, seeds and plants is governed by the Department of Thai Traditional Medicine and the Department of Agriculture respectively and the sales of these products require licenses.
So while no licenses are required at the moment for the cultivation of cannabis in Thailand, the sales of cannabis products has further requirements, licenses and obligations. Get in touch to find out more about the current situation in Thailand and how we can support your cultivation.