Thailand Formalizes Regulations Surrounding the Use and Distribution of Hemp

With most parts of the plant having been delisted from the Schedule 5 list of narcotic substances in 2020, the Thai government will now permit licensed parties to produce, import, export, distribute, and use hemp for various products in the country.

It is expected that Thailand will start processing applications on 29 January 2021 under the requirements set out by Ministerial Regulation Re: Application and License for Production, Importation, Exportation, Selling, or Possession of Hemp, published in the Royal Thai Gazette late last year. This coincides with the release of Ministerial Notification Re: Use of Hemp in Cosmetics B.E. 2564 (2011), which allows the use of hemp and hemp-derived products for cosmetic products provided they contain less than 0.2% of THC by weight.

Applying for the use of hemp is limited to Thai nationals who are at least 20-years of age, companies registered in Thailand with at least two-thirds of its directors, partners, or shareholders being Thai nationals, or community enterprises governed by the Community Enterprise Act B.E. 2548 (2005). The ministerial regulation also stipulates that companies applying for a license must meet all legal and financial conditions, including being able to demonstrate sufficient capital to the satisfaction of the government agencies involved.  Representatives applying on behalf of a company must likewise be:

  1. A resident of Thailand;
  2. A competent person who has the physical and mental capacity to conduct such activities;
  3. Financially solvent; and
  4. Compliant with Thailand’s laws surrounding narcotics and psychotropic substances.

In addition, a license for any activity involving hemp may be issued under the condition that at least one of the following objectives have been met:

  • The intended activity furthers the goals of the relevant state agency;
  • The use of hemp or hemp-derived products is for commercial, industrial, or medical purposes;
  • The intended activity consists of research, development, and/or the improvement of hemp strains;
  • The area used for household cultivation is limited to 1,600 square meters (one rai) per family; and
  • Seeds used for cultivation must be certified.

The application process for acquiring a license may vary depending on where the applicant intends to locate their operations. Those located in Bangkok for importing, exporting, or manufacturing hemp can lodge their application at the office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whereas those aiming to operate outside Bangkok can apply with their nearest Provincial Public Health Office which will forward to the application to a provincial committee and governor for review before being forwarded to the FDA office. The time frame may vary on a case-by-case basis.

Use of hemp for cosmetics

The process for registering cosmetic products that contain hemp or hemp-derived products involves a separate procedure altogether. Applicants must submit several documents to the FDA office, including a safety data sheet, certificate of analysis, and a label for the agency’s evaluation. They must also declare the amount of hemp or hemp-derived substances in their products and ensure that the names of the products are within the scope of their intended effect, bearing no references to any prohibited narcotic substances.

Despite the government’s move to permit the use of hemp or hemp-derived products for cosmetics, importing products that contain hemp or its derivatives is not allowed at this time given as the scope of the notification is currently limited to domestic production. Moreover, only businesses that are majority-owned by Thai nationals are permitted to use hemp in cosmetics.

Thailand’s regulations surrounding the use of hemp, cannabis, and their derivatives are continuously evolving and may see changes over time. For more insight on the latest developments surrounding the country’s cannabis and hemp regulations, please contact us at [email protected] or use the contact form provided.