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How to Open a Cannabis Dispensary in Thailand? Ultimate Guide

4 Mins read

Key Takeaways

  • There’s an increasing expansion of cannabis dispensaries in Thailand after cannabis has been removed from the banned narcotics list in 2022.
  • Foreigners cannot 100% own cannabis businesses in Thailand but require at least one Thai national shareholder according to the FBA.
  • Every cannabis dispensary in Thailand requires at least one license depending on activities performed in the company.
  • Importing other parts of cannabis plants other than seeds is illegal.
  • Possessing and selling cannabis products containing over 0.2% THC level is also illegal.


Thailand was once one of the countries in Asia with harsh laws and regulations when it came to cannabis. Thailand has become the first Asian country to embrace the decriminalization of cannabis when cannabis plants have been removed from the banned narcotics list in 2022. It sparked interest not just among locals but visitors as well, resulting in a rapidly expanding cannabis business for cultivation, production,  distribution, and sale of cannabis products.

This article will be your ultimate guide if you are an entrepreneur looking for an opportunity to open your own cannabis dispensary in Thailand.

Current and Upcoming Cannabis Laws in Thailand

With the current cannabis laws and regulations effective since June 9, 2022, cannabis is legal in Thailand for medical purposes while it’s also allowed to be used recreationally within private property. Smoking cannabis in public is illegal and can receive a fine or imprisonment when violated. 

Growing and selling cannabis are permitted but must be registered with the PlookGanja application. Cannabis dispensaries and businesses have been rapidly and widely established. The cannabis businesses only allow selling cannabis products containing less than 0.2% THC, any products with over 0.2% THC are illegal. Possession and consumption of cannabis with less than 0.2% THC is legal but is only limited to those who are at the age of 20 years old and older, unless those with a doctor’s prescription, while pregnant and breastfeeding women are strictly prohibited from buying and consuming cannabis.

However, at the very beginning of 2024 – quite recently, the Thai government planned to delist cannabis plants back to being narcotics plants and expected them to be effective by the end of the year. Medical cannabis will still be legal. With the new cannabis laws that have yet to be published, there will be much more complexity in the licensing processes for cannabis-related activities.

Setting Up a Cannabis Dispensary in Thailand

Where to begin?

First and foremost, you’ll need a business visa and a work permit before starting a business in Thailand. Thailand offers foreigners great opportunities to start a business in Thailand by setting up a Thai company including a cannabis business – at least while the new cannabis laws are not yet published. However, setting up a cannabis business requires the incorporation of a Thai Limited Company where a foreigner must cooperatively own the business with a Thai shareholder. The entity type limits foreign shares at 49% and 51% of the company shares and at least two-thirds of the company capital and director positions must be owned by Thai nationals due to the restrictions of cannabis-related businesses under the Foreign Business Act (FBA).

Do I need a cannabis license?

It is mandatory to acquire different types of cannabis licensing depending on which activities will be performed in your cannabis business. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Thailand is the key regulator of the cannabis industry. Licenses generally have a 3-year validity period and applications can be submitted by Thai and foreigners with work permits.

The following are the main types of cannabis licenses in Thailand:

  • Production license – This type of license is for a cannabis cultivation business which requires a cannabis production license from the Thai FDA. If you have a few locations for cultivation, you must have a license for each site.
  • Distribution License – Selling cannabis flowers and leaves requires a cannabis distribution license from the FDA while selling other parts of cannabis plants such as seeds or stems requires a controlled seed distribution license from the Plant Quarantine Department. The requirement for obtaining a distribution license applies to both wholesale and retail businesses.
  • Processing License – A license from the FDA is required for processing cannabis and must obtain a license from the relevant authority when processed cannabis is used in producing other products such as applying for a beverage license before producing cannabis beverages.
  • Export License – The exportation of cannabis flowers and leaves requires a cannabis export license from the FDA. Other parts of cannabis plants (e.g. seeds and stems) will require a controlled seed export license from the Plant Quarantine Department.
  • Import License – Only certain parts of the cannabis plants, such as seeds and stems, can be imported which is subject to license requirements from the Plant Quarantine Department. The import license must be provided to the Customs Depa before the importation. Please keep in mind that importing other parts of the cannabis plant is prohibited.

ng this process. The reviewing process will usually take 2-3 months for applications to be submitted to the FDA office and 4-5 months to be submitted to the provincial health office.

What type of cannabis products can be sold?

The Ministry of Public Health of Thailand only allowed the following cannabis parts as an ingredient for selling; hemp seeds, oil and protein from hemp seeds, trunk, fiber, branch, root, and leaf, without the flower.

Cannabis-Contained Home Remedies

  • Such as dietary supplements containing CBD oil, THC oil, THC-Free CBD oils, and cosmetic products with cannabis/hemp components.
  • The products must not contain extracts of a THC content over 0.2% and must have an FDA number with a selling license according to the type of product.

Food Items

  • Such as confectionery products like candies, gummies, and cookies infused with cannabis.
  • The products must not contain extracts of more than 0.2% THC as well as the FDA number.

Products for Planting

  • Such as seeds, branches, buds, roots, flowers, and fruits.
  • A selling license from the Department of Agriculture is required for the mentioned products.

What activities performed in the cannabis business are illegal?

  • Importing parts of the cannabis plant other than seeds. It is strictly prohibited regardless of personal or business use which applies to both Thai and foreigners.
  • Possessing, selling, and distributing cannabis extracts containing a THC content over 0.2%. Cannabis extracts with more than 0.2% THC are still considered a narcotic substance in Thailand meaning that they are illegal. 
  • Cannabis consumption or smoking on the premises of the dispensary is prohibited.


Foreigners who wish to open a cannabis dispensary in Thailand must incorporate to a Thai Limited Company where a foreigner must own the company with a Thai shareholder meaning that foreigners cannot 100% own the cannabis company. This happens according to the Foreign Business Act (FBA) restrictions. Opening a cannabis business will require cannabis licenses depending on what type of business you’re running. For example, if you’re running a cannabis cultivation farm, then you’ll need a production license from the Thai FDA.

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About author
Cenk Cetin is a cannabis tech entrepreneur based in Thailand. He is dedicated to the digital transformation of retailers and has a can-do mentality to any task related.
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