Thailand’s legalization of cannabis for medical purposes continues to move forward. On 28 May 2019, the Thai Cabinet approved the draft Ministerial Regulation regarding Approval for the Manufacture, Import, Export, Sale, or Possession of Cannabis proposed by the Ministry of Public Health. Some of the key elements of the draft are:

  • Definitions of the terms “Cannabis”; “Licensee”; and “Government agencies”.
  • Categorization of seven types of objectives related to the manufacture, import, or export of cannabis:
    1. administration of cannabis for medical use domestically;
    2. education, analysis, and research for medical, scientific, or pharmacological purposes;
    3. prevention of offenses and for international co-operation;
    4. export manufacturing and export of cannabis;
    5. manufacturing for specific-patient use by the Thai traditional medical profession;
    6. necessary treatment for specific patients;
    7. for patients traveling across borders who bring cannabis into or out of the country for personal treatment within 90 days.
  • Specification of qualifications of applicants to manufacture, import, export, sell or possess cannabis.
  • Requirements for planting cannabis only in the areas prescribed in the license; for the use of seeds, tissues and other methods to be in line with the approvals obtained; and for the planting areas to be clearly defined.
  • Requirement for the licensee to conduct random tests to verify the concentration of key ingredients, e.g. Cannabidiol (CBD) or Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and the presence of contaminants or heavy metals in accordance with the prescribed standards. Records must be kept at the premises for at least three years.
  • Requirement for a licensee to manufacture or import a drug that contains cannabis as an ingredient to apply for a product registration license prior to the manufacture or import.

The draft ministerial regulation will be submitted to the Office of the Council of State for review before being published by the Ministry of Public Health. These regulations once announced will have legal effect. The current law as it stands now does liberalize the use of cannabis for medical, science and R&D purposes. However, this liberalization will not take practical effect until the detailed regulations are issued.


Peerapan Tungsuwan is a partner in and Head of the Healthcare Industry Group of Baker McKenzie’s Bangkok office.