Thai Cannabis License Application Basics

November 18, 2023by nsuwan

Licensing Requirements and Eligibility

For Cannabis Seed License:

  • Legal age is required.
  • A residence or office in Thailand is necessary.
  • Applicants must not be legally declared incompetent or quasi-incompetent.
  • The business name must be unique.
  • No suspension or revocation of a license within the last two years.
  • An appropriate location for business operations with necessary tools and equipment is required​​.

For Legal Entities:

  • The entity must be registered under Thai law.
  • Authorized signatories (directors) must be Thai nationals, aged at least 20 years old.
  • For limited companies, Thai shareholders must hold at least 51% of shares. For other entities, at least two-thirds of the partners must be Thai nationals.
  • The entity must have a physical office in Thailand​​.

For Cannabis Businesses (Foreigners):

  • A visa and work permit are needed to enter Thailand.
  • A Thai company must be registered, with two-thirds of the capital held by Thai nationals and two-thirds of the management being Thai.
  • At least 51% of the shares must be held by Thai nationals​

Application Procedures for Cannabis Activities

Importing Cannabis Seeds

  1. Obtain an Import License: Secure a license to import controlled seeds.
  2. Seller Agreement: Agree with the seller on the correct preparation of goods and documents.
  3. Legal Compliance: Adhere to customs laws and provide evidence of THC percentages.
  4. Phytosanitary Certificate: This is mandatory under plant quarantine laws. Additionally, a certificate confirming the plant is not genetically modified is required.
  5. Application Submission: Applications for import licenses are typically submitted to the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  6. Timeline: The timeline for processing import licenses can vary, but applicants should prepare for several weeks to a few months for complete processing, including legal compliance and obtaining necessary certificates​​.

Commercial Cannabis Activities

  1. Gather Necessary Documents: For legal entities, prepare registration certificates, affidavits, location maps, and identification documents. For grantors and attorneys, ID, house registration, Power of Attorney, and name change documents are needed.
  2. Application Submission: Applications can be submitted to the Provincial Ministry of Public Health’s Department of Traditional Thai Medicine or directly to the Thai FDA, depending on the nature of the cannabis activity.
  3. Timeline: The review and approval process can vary. For applications submitted to the FDA, it may take approximately 2-3 months. For those submitted to provincial health offices, the process might take around 4-5 months, as it includes product and site checks​​​​.

FDA License for Cannabis Distribution

  1. Create a Company in Thailand: This is a prerequisite for foreign applicants. A company must have two-thirds of the capital and management as Thai nationals, and 51% of shares must be held by Thai nationals.
  2. Work Permit and Business Visa: Required for foreign nationals wishing to work in Thailand.
  3. Apply for FDA License: Submit an application to the Thai FDA, which includes identification of applicants, ownership documents of the cultivation site, a map indicating the location, growing conditions, and security management measures.
  4. Review by Provincial Committee: The application is reviewed by a provincial committee and the governor, and then forwarded to the Thai FDA office.
  5. Timeline: The review process generally takes about 2-3 months for applications submitted to the FDA office and 4-5 months for those submitted to the provincial health office​​.

Maintaining Compliance

  • Regular Renewals: Licenses require regular renewals, usually annually, which include updated documentation and potential re-inspections.
  • Ongoing Monitoring: Stay informed about changes in regulations and ensure ongoing compliance with Thai FDA standards​​.

Current Legislation and Future Expectations

  • The Cannabis Act outlines the parameters for legal cultivation, production, distribution, and possession of cannabis products, including types of products allowed, qualifications for stakeholders, and penalties for violations.
  • Amendments to the Narcotics Act accommodate the shifting stance on cannabis, especially concerning medical and research applications​​.
  • As of 2022, specific parts of cannabis and extracts with cannabidiol (CBD) containing THC not exceeding 0.2% were delisted from category 5 of the Narcotics Act​​.

It’s important for interested parties to stay informed about the dynamic regulatory landscape and consult with legal experts in the field for up-to-date information and guidance.

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