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Sun Legal Update: Thailand’s Cannabis Market

Sun Legal Sunbelt Update

The cannabis market in Thailand is expected to grow quickly after its decriminalization in June. The University of Thai Chamber of Commerce predicts that the cannabis market will grow 15% annually for the next three years when it is expected to be valued at 43 billion baht.

Overall, the public has yet to change its viewpoint on cannabis, with 64% of people polled viewing it as a harmful drug, 35% as medicine and 25% as a new economic crop. (Respondents could pick more than one answer in the survey.)

However, the government sees cannabis as an important cash crop that creates opportunities for growers and small businesses. The Tourism Authority of Thailand has no plans to promote cannabis tourism, and the government has warned visitors to be aware of laws in nearby countries where it is illegal and can result in travel bans or jail terms.

It is important to note that the Cannabis and Hemp Act has not yet been passed by Parliament so the importation of products containing cannabis and hemp extracts, and hemp derived products, as well as any parts of cannabis and hemp, into Thailand is still illegal.

Additionally, while it is possible to purchase cannabis easily, it is still illegal to smoke it publicly and can result in a fine up to 25,000 baht and/or a jail sentence up to three months.

Thai nationals may cultivate plants at home or freely cultivate cannabis and hemp plants and trade unprocessed plant parts and crude resins in Thailand. Companies can farm the plant with a permit. While this is a protected category of business, it is possible for a Thai limited company with minority foreign ownership to grow cannabis as well as start and run a cannabis related business.

The Cannabis and Hemp Act is expected to impose further regulations and licensing requirements. It is expected that medium cultivators, with less than 32,000 square meters (less than 20 rai) under cultivation, will have to go through additional bureaucratic procedures and pay additional fees. Large cultivators, with more than 20 rai will be considered commercial cultivators and require Food and Drug Administration approval. Fees for large cultivators are likely to include both monthly and annual payments.

Sun Legal will continue to follow the implementation of the Cannabis and Hemp Act and keep you apprised of any changes. If you are interested in starting a cannabis business, contact us using the form below.

Business Sentiment Index Rises

The easing of COVID restrictions and improved economic activity pushed the Federation of Thai Industries’ sentiment index upward for the first time in three months in June.

The weak baht has boosted exports and increased tourism contributes, so a rising GDP is predicated although international tourists will be affected by the global economic outlook as inflation rises and supply shortages continue.

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