Tilleke & Gibbins: Thailand Opens Licensing for Hemp Production, Import, Export, and Distribution

January 6, 2021

On January 29, 2021, Thailand will begin processing applications for licenses to produce, import, export, distribute, and possess hemp (Cannabis sativa). The specific requirements for this significant step in Thailand’s ongoing development of a regulatory regime for hemp are contained in the Ministerial Regulation Re: Application and License for Production, Importation, Exportation, Selling or Possession of Hemp, which was published in the Government Gazette on December 30, 2020.

Under this ministerial regulation, a license for any of these activities may be issued to meet one or more of the following objectives:

  • Furthering the aims of a state agency;
  • Use of hemp fiber in accordance with culture, lifestyle, or household use, with a cultivation area limited to a maximum of one rai (1,600 square meters) per family;
  • Commercial or industrial purposes;
  • Medical purposes;
  • Study, research and development, or improvement of a hemp strain; or,
  • Production of certified hemp seeds.

Eligible applicants for a license include Thai citizens, companies registered under Thai law (with at least two-thirds of directors, partners, or shareholders holding Thai nationality), and community enterprises governed under the Community Enterprise Act B.E. 2548 (2005). For a company, the representative whose name appears on the application (and license, if successful), must be a Thai national of at least 20 years of age, must have a domicile or office in Thailand, and must fulfill the basic requirements of legal capacity (i.e., competency) and financial solvency. In addition, the representative cannot be the holder of a license that is under suspension or revocation under Thailand’s laws on narcotics or psychotropic substances, and cannot have received a sentence for any violation of these laws.

The application process for a license to manufacture, import, or export hemp differs depending on the location of the applicant’s premises. For manufacturing activities located in Bangkok, and for all licenses for importation and exportation, the application can be submitted directly to the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) office. Manufacturers located outside of Bangkok should submit the application to their Provincial Public Health Office, which will then forward the application for review by a provincial committee and by the governor, after which the application will be sent on to the Thai FDA office. The total consideration process is expected to take 2–3 months for applications submitted directly to the Thai FDA office, and 4–5 months for applications submitted to a provincial health office.

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