In early 2019, by amending the Narcotics Act, Thailand caught the cannabis industry by surprise and became the first Asian country to legalize medicinal cannabis. While hemp had been approved for use in industry since 2018, the amendment of the Narcotics Act, providing for a Thai FDA registration pathway for medicinal cannabis, was largely unexpected. Subsequently, in August 2019 the Ministry of Public Health issued a notification delisting CBDs with certain characteristics from the list of prohibited narcotics. As a result, Tilleke & Gibbins has been advising several leading global cannabis companies on structuring Thai partnerships by way of technology transfers, including registered and unregistered IP and trade secrets; establishing joint ventures and new companies for medical cannabis and Cannabidiol (CBD) product R&D, product development, and manufacturing; and ongoing technical services.
In addition, our firm has been instructed to handle corporate establishment of the Thai Cannabis Industry Association (TCIA), a not-for-profit organization that will aim to promote the growth of the medical cannabis industry in Thailand and through Southeast Asia.
Tilleke & Gibbins positioned itself at the forefront of cannabis legalization in Thailand over the last couple of years and has worked hard to keep interested clients up to date with legal developments. Since February 2019, this persistence has yielded incredible dividends and has resulted in a massive influx of new clients and matters. This matter not only highlights our expertise in this burgeoning industry but also our ability to adapt to the legal environment as it changes with the times.