Global Compliance News: Thailand: Cannabis and hemp regulations – What it means for foreign investors and the private sector

If you are looking to work with cannabis in Thailand this is a worthwhile read…

In brief

In a recent interview Mr. Anutin Charnvirakul, the Minister of Public Health, lauded the many community enterprises all over Thailand which have been growing cannabis for hospitals to extract for medical purposes and the hundreds of medical cannabis clinics all over the country which have proven to be very popular with the Thai people. The Minister was pleased with how Thai people have embraced cannabis and has again stressed his mission to make cannabis both a cash crop, as well as a medicine, for the nation. He also mentioned intended efforts to continue with liberalizing the laws and regulations on cannabis even further to increase access to cannabis.1

Rising demand for hemp owing to its medicinal and dietary benefits is driving the growth of the hemp industry globally across sectors, including pharmaceuticals, food and beverages, and cosmetics. The global industrial hemp market size was valued at USD 3.61 billion in 2020 and is expected to reach USD 12.01 billion by 2028. Robust growth in this sector has been observed domestically with hemp attracting significant interests from large Thai conglomerates to smaller startups alike. Krungsri Research had forecasted that the Thai market for hemp will have a value of THB 15.77 billion (over USD 480 million) by 2025.2

As we welcome various favorable policies and supporting rules and regulations from the government and relevant government agencies, as well as legislative efforts to push the medical cannabis and hemp industry forward in Thailand, one issue which can be explored in more detail is what this means for foreign investors in this industry.

The followers of this industry may have heard discussions around how the Thai government may be trying to protect the cannabis and hemp industry for the Thai people first. Some may also be aware of the two-thirds local director and shareholding requirement for an applicant for a hemp manufacturing (growing and non-growing) license. But there is much more to these discussions in terms of the multitude of opportunities in the other parts of the cannabis and hemp segments, which we will highlight in our article today.

We wanted to illustrate this point with the infographic below which depicts the upstream and downstream segments of the cannabis and hemp market.

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