Tilleke & Gibbins: Cannabis & Hemp Business Guide (Thailand)


Cannabis (also known as marijuana) and hemp have been classified as a category 5 narcotic under the Narcotics Act since 1979. All activities related to the plants and their derivatives had been very much restricted until the recent rise of the cannabis legalization movement—its first milestone being Amendment (No. 7) to the Narcotics Act, effective February 19, 2019. The Thai government has since been working to reclassify the products and lay out the regulatory pathways to accommodate these new “economic plants.”

Most of the product classifications discussed here are based upon the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, and upon the presence of cannabidiol (CBD) in the products. Generally speaking, THC is a psychoactive substance with fewer medical applications, while CBD is not psychotropic and has more medical applications. A higher THC content is therefore associated with a greater risk of abuse, and thus stricter regulations apply. Under the most recent legal amendments, Thai law defines cannabis as plants in the Cannabis genus, and hemp as Cannabis sativa L. subsp. sativa having no more than 1.0 % THC by dry weight in its leaves and inflorescence.

The key regulator of cannabis- and hemp-related products is the Thai Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA), a government agency operating under supervision of the Ministry of Public Health. Working closely with the Narcotics Control Committee, the Thai FDA is mainly responsible for granting and administering licenses and post-marketing control, among others. Representatives of the Thai FDA also sit on most of the national policymaking committees.

The Thai government considers cannabis legalization a complex task affecting diverse groups of stakeholders. Notable stakeholders include parties involved in both upstream and downstream production, healthcare professionals, hospitals, consumers or patients, and regulatory authorities, both in Thailand and overseas. Traditional medicine practitioners are an additional and particularly influential group of stakeholders, unique to Thailand, as they utilize longstanding traditional formulations containing cannabis.

The Thai government has adopted a protective stance toward Thai stakeholders—especially during the first stage of cannabis legalization, which runs until 2024. During this first stage licenses with respect to cannabis will only be granted to state agencies, and therefore a private entity or group of farmers is only eligible for a cannabis license if they operate jointly with a state agency. This requirement does not apply to the hemp licensing framework, wherein a private entity may apply for and hold a hemp license independently.

Full Guide

Tilleke – Cannabis and Hemp Business Guide Thailand_210309

Top 200 Cannabis Lawyers

Cannabis Law Journal – Contributing Authors

Editor – Sean Hocking

Author Bios

Matt Maurer – Minden Gross
Jeff Hergot – Wildboer Dellelce LLP

Costa Rica
Tim Morales – The Cannabis Industry Association Costa Rica

Elvin Rodríguez Fabilena


Julie Godard
Carl L Rowley -Thompson Coburn LLP

Jerry Chesler – Chesler Consulting

Ian Stewart – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Otis Felder – Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker LLP
Lance Rogers – Greenspoon Marder – San Diego
Jessica McElfresh -McElfresh Law – San Diego
Tracy Gallegos – Partner – Fox Rothschild

Adam Detsky – Knight Nicastro
Dave Rodman – Dave Rodman Law Group
Peter Fendel – CMR Real Estate Network
Nate Reed – CMR Real Estate Network

Matthew Ginder – Greenspoon Marder
David C. Kotler – Cohen Kotler

William Bogot – Fox Rothschild

Valerio Romano, Attorney – VGR Law Firm, PC

Neal Gidvani – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder
Phillip Silvestri – Snr Assoc: Greenspoon Marder

Tracy Gallegos – Associate Fox Rothschild

New Jersey

Matthew G. Miller – MG Miller Intellectual Property Law LLC
Daniel T. McKillop – Scarinci Hollenbeck, LLC

New York
Gregory J. Ryan, Esq. Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Tim Nolen Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

Paul Loney & Kristie Cromwell – Loney Law Group
William Stewart – Half Baked Labs

Andrew B. Sacks – Managing Partner Sacks Weston Diamond
William Roark – Principal Hamburg, Rubin, Mullin, Maxwell & Lupin
Joshua Horn – Partner Fox Rothschild

Washington DC
Teddy Eynon – Partner Fox Rothschild