By way of background, “hemp,” as regulated under the Narcotics Act, is currently defined as having tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in leaves and flowers not exceeding 1% per dry weight. Certified hemp seeds are seeds of hemp that has THC in leaves and flowers not exceeding 1% per dry weight.
On 28 January 2020 the Cabinet approved the principles of the draft Ministerial Regulation re: Licensing and Approval for the Production, Distribution or Possession of Narcotics Category V Hemp (the “Ministerial Regulation“) as proposed by the Ministry of Public Health, which is intended to apply to hemp (as defined above), revoking the Production, Distribution or Possession of Narcotics Category V Hemp B.E. 2559 (2016). The draft Ministerial Regulation was sent to the Office of the Council of State to process further.
The key amendments and provisions under the new draft Ministerial Regulation are as follows:
- Allowing the production, distribution, or possession and the importation and exportation of hemp also for governmental purposes, such as education and research for medical, pharmaceutical, scientific and industrial purposes, and the importation and exportation for commercial purposes.
- Prescribing the requirements for the single importation or exportation of hemp, which will require a license for each batch.
- Exempting the authority from complying with the prescribed requirements when the government’s interests in controlling crimes and promoting international cooperation in relation to narcotics are involved.
- A few amendments to the transitional provisions were made in the area of licensing to facilitate the applications which have been submitted prior to the effective date of the Ministerial Regulation. As such, the holders of the licenses issued under the old ministerial regulation are allowed to continue their activities already approved. The Ministerial Regulation also imposes a requirement to commence the process to obtain the license under the Ministerial Regulation within five years from the effective date of the Ministerial Regulation in order to promote the permitted activities.
- In addition, the new draft Ministerial Regulation has also added some defined terms for additional clarity in this area of law.
Following this approval by the Cabinet, the Thai Food and Drug Administration is currently in the process of considering the supplementary rules that will be issued in order to implement this new Ministerial Regulation.
We continue to closely monitor the progress of this matter and will keep you informed of further updates.