The status of Marijuana in Thailand, 2022
On January 25th, 2022, Thailand became the first country in South-East Asia to decriminalise Marijuana.
While Marijuana has been decriminalised, that doesn’t mean you can own and smoke as much as you want. Current Thai laws still impose strict punishments for those who are caught smoking or possessing marijuana.
However, it is now possible for people to receive Cannabis Oil to be used for medicinal purposes, from a licensed physician. There are also plans in the pipeline to expand the laws and allow people to grow it at home, however, nothing formal has been approved as of yet.
- Cannabis will be removed from the “Schedule 5 Narcotics” list on the 9th June, however THC (the chemical that causes you to feel high) will still be listed as a “Schedule 1 Psychotropic Substance”. Simply having traces of THC in your system could result in a prison sentence and/or fines.
- Contrary to belief, you cannot grow as much Marijuana as you like at home. It is possible to grow plants for personal use, but it must be registered with the local authorities and adhere to certain existing laws. There have been many cases of people being arrested for the production of Schedule 5 Narcotics by simply growing and failing to register 1 Marijuana plant.
- Thailand does provide licences to Cannabis producers in Thailand. In order to receive a licence, a producer must invest in the licensing process and develop a growth facility. It is also important to note that the producers of the Marijuana must donate all of the flowers to be made into medicine. Producers can then sell the remaining leaves/stems/branches/roots to make an income.
- While Cannabis oil can now be legally obtained, not all Cannabis oils and tinctures sold online or in shops are legal. Legal medicinal Cannabis oils are usually prescribed by a legally registered and approved Marijuana clinic, who receive their products from government departments or hospitals.
What does the delisting of Marijuana in Thailand actually mean?
Many people assume that now that Marijuana has been delisted, they can do whatever they like with it. However, this is not the case and in reality the delisting of Marijuana is for medical and scientific purposes. It permits the use of cannabis in medical treatments and various health-related products as well.
As mentioned above, growing Marijuana at home is possible but for personal use only. Those who are growing on their own Marijuana plants must first register with the authorities.
The future of Marijuana in Thailand
There have been a few recent developments relating to Marijuana in Thailand. Thailand’s health minister, Anutin Charnvirakul recently announced that from June 9th it will be possible for people to grow as many Marijuana plants as they like at home.
There are, however, certain conditions attached to this:
Condition #1: All Marijuana plants must be “medical grade Marijuana” and can only be used for medicinal purposes only. Growing Marijuana for recreational use is prohibited.
Condition #2: You must inform the authorities first that you are growing Marijuana at home. People will no longer need to officially register with the authorities to grow Marijuana at home, but they should inform the authorities.
While this is good news for people interested in growing their own plants, it is still a grey area. As of the time of writing there have been no clear details provided relating to how someone can prove their Marijuana plant will be used for medical purposes. It is also unclear as to which authorities need to be informed and how to do so.
The Cannabis Sandbox
Thailand hopes to position itself as a hub for medicinal Marijuana. The first step in achieving this could be the creation of a Cannabis Sandbox scheme. Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have been considering the idea of a Cannabis Sandbox, which will be similar to Phuket’s Sandbox scheme, but with a focus on Marijuana.
The FDA stated that the Cannabis Act could potentially allow individuals over 20 years of age to potentially use Marijuana for recreational purposes. Furthermore, travellers participating in the scheme will be able access Marijuana products for treatment if they fall ill during their trip.
Can I start a Marijuana related business in Thailand?
The Marijuana industry in Thailand is highly regulated. Different licences must be obtained depending on the activity you practice. The licensing process is typically a multi-step process with a variety of requirements to the applicant, its shareholders, and its business operations. It must be noted that the Food and Drug Administration “FDA” and the Narcotics Committee are the new authorities in charge of the attribution of licences regarding cannabis
It is possible to receive a licence for the following activities:
In order to cultivate Marijuana you are required to have a production licence from the Thai FDA under the Narcotics Act. Until February 19, 2024, licences are exclusively granted to state agencies. Concerning the cultivation of hemp, you are also required to obtain a production licence from the Thai FDA under the Narcotics Act. However, this licence is already available for private parties. All the relevant licensing rules and procedures are set out in the new Hemp Regulation Act that took effect on January 29, 2021.
Manufacturing, importing or exporting licences
Manufacturing, importing or exporting of Marijuana for the benefit of medical treatment, research and development, Government affairs, agriculture, commerce, science, industry or medicine are required to obtain a licence from the FDA. The product must not contain more than 0.2% THC.
The selling of Marijuana requires a licence from the Thai FDA. Any possession of cannabis exceeding 10 kg is automatically considered as possession for sale and therefore requires the same licence.
Importation or the Production of Cosmetics / Food, Beverages, or Food Additives Formulated with Hemp Seed Oil or Extract licences
The product must comply with the specifications prescribed by Ministerial Notification: Use of Hemp in Cosmetics 2020 and the upcoming Notification concerning food which is currently being drafted. It also requires a licence from the Thai FDA under the Cosmetics Act/Food Act. Any businesses must also respect the licensing rules and procedures put in place by the Narcotics Act.
How can our team of experts help?
Our team of local and international experts will analyze your project and help you apply for all the licences you might need. We have a team of experienced experts who will accompany you through the whole application process and take care of anything you may need.
For more information about how you can operate within this field, why not book a consultation with one of our experts.
A consultation with our experts will allow you to learn more about what kind of business you can operate, how the laws apply to your potential business and anything else you may need to know relating to Marijuana in Thailand.
If you have an existing matter and you need assistance from our experts, you can post a job request here. Our experts will review the request and refer back to you with more details as soon as possible.
Please note that this article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.
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