Thai Government Legalizes Industrial Hemp

After hemp was removed from the list of controlled substances under Section 5 of the Narcotic Act in 2019 by the Public Health Ministry, the cabinet approved a ministerial regulation permitting production, importation, and exportation of hemp.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) defines hemp as a Cannabis sativa L plant, which contains less than 0.5% of THC in its flowers and stem and not more than 0.3% of THC in the buds.

CBD is the main active ingredient found in hemp, and it is non-psychoactive. It is believed to possess healing potential as it can be used by patients suffering from a wide range of ailments such as anxiety, insomnia, depression, and arthritis.

Traisulee Traisoranakul, who is the deputy government spokeswoman, said that the existing regulation governing hemp consumption would be replaced by the new rule.

Traisoranakul also said that the new regulation would allow individuals and juristic entities which are registered in Thailand to cultivate hemp for commercial purposes.

Two-thirds of the juristic entities looking to acquire permits for the cultivation of hemp for commercial purposes must be owned by Thailand citizens or have Thailand citizens occupying the majority of its executive board.

The individual or the businesses within the jurisdiction can produce, sell, possess, import, or export hemp once they are licensed. This helps in the promotion of hemp as a cash crop and also enhances indigenous Thailand varieties.

Traditionally, families that use hemp to make fabrics would be allowed to spend a maximum of 1 rai (1,600 square meters) to the plant as long as they have a permit.

In July 2019, Highland Research and Development Institute was granted permission to grow hemp by the Public Health Ministry in the following provinces; Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Nan, Tak, and Phetchabun.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, most of the hemp strains found in Thailand have a high level of fiber quality with relatively low levels of THC and CBD. THC and CBD are two of the main cannabinoids found in marijuana.

Hemp oils and seeds will be beneficial to the people of Thailand as they can be used locally to make drugs and as an ingredient in food and cosmetic products, said the FDA.

The secretary-general of the FDA Tares Krassanairawiwong said that the agency is working towards establishing new rules governing food and cosmetic products that contain CBD.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) secretary-general Niyom Termsrisuk said that it is illegal to cultivate, possess, use, sell, export, or import hemp products without a permit and warned people from doing so irrespective of the fact that the plant was removed from the list of controlled substances.

It would be interesting to hear what established hemp sector players like HTC Extraction Systems (TSX.V:HTC) (OTCQB: HTPRF) have to say about the entry of Thailand into the international hemp arena.

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