Thailand legalized medical cannabis in 2018 and is beginning to take down some of the regulatory obstacles that are standing in the way of business development. While no licenses are available to private entrepreneurs just yet, the county has formally removed low-THC cannabis and hemp extracts from its list of scheduled narcotics.
For now, only hospital and research facilities may produce those cannabis extracts, according to Reuters’ recent reporting on the country, but investors appear to be lining up to support this expansion of the industry in much the same way that the U.S. is seeing a surge of interest from hemp growers and CBD product manufacturers.
In Thailand, the THC threshold for compliant cannabis extracts is 0.2 percent—lower even than the fairly tightly regulated hemp crops in the U.S. As part of this move, Thailand is also allowing hemp oil and seeds to be used in various consumer products.
Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, cautioned that this more open policy toward cannabis shouldn’t be taken as a bellwether for adult-use legalization or even whole-plant product regulation. "Marijuana and hemp are still Class 5 narcotics, and their cultivation, import, export, sale, possession and/or consumption without permits are illegal," he said in a public statement.