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Cannabis in Thailand – obtain cannabis for medical purposes as a foreign national

Cannabis in Thailand – Regulations and License to Grow Cannabis in Thailand

License to Grow Cannabis for Medical Purposes

Thailand has recently legalised marijuana for growth and consumption purposes as well as for medical purposes. Consumption of cannabis is now legal whe used as an ingredient in food and drinks. However, although cannabis is now legal in /thailand, smoking in public places is not encouraged as it violates public health laws.
Medical cannabis in Thailand

Thailand first has introduced cannabis only for medical purposes. It could be aquired only based on a medical certificate that would mention the health symptoms and be approved by a licensed medical practitioner. This was ment to avoid consumption for recreative purposes.

The industry has potential and therefore the Thai government has prohibited foreign companies to produce, import, sell, export and process cannabis. Only Thai nationals and Thai companies are allowed to run activities that involve the growth and selling of medical cannabis in Thailand.

As a foreign tourist, you will need to obtain a medical certificate prior to your journey to Thailand and complete a form, declaring the amount of medical cannabis carring upon them.

Cannabis in Thailand – obtain cannabis for medical purposes as a foreign national

If you live in Thailand and you need to aquire medical cannabis in Thailand, you need to prepare the following documents:ID Card or passport medical certificate approved by a licensed practitioner that states the conditions that are being treated application form with details such as your name and personal information as well as details abut the doctor prescribing you cannabis to cure your health symptoms
Cannabis is legal in Thailand for consumption

Thailand has legalized the consumption of cannabis in food and drinks. However, is still illegal to buy or sell as well as smoke marijuana in public containing more than 0.2% of the hallucinogenic compound THC.

Now that cannabis is legal in Thailand, you will find it not only as a medical treatment but also as an ingredient in food and drinks in many restaurants. The amount used will not affect consumers in any way. Keep in mind that smoking in public places is still not allowed due to public health regulations.

This is a great opportunity for tourism and businesses using cannabis as an ingredient in cosmetics, food, drinks and even medical treatment. As a foreign national, you are still not allowed to grow and process cannabis, nor sell it, import and export it. Only Thai nationals can have activities within this industry.

Retiring in Thailand? Here’s the Most Useful Guide Ever Compiled


Retiring in Thailand? Here’s the Most Useful Guide Ever Compiled

If you're planning on retiring in Thailand, there's a bunch of things you need to consider, some of which you probably haven't yet thought of.

And that's the purpose of this post; a checklist of sorts to make sure you have everything covered.

First we will look at where to live and the pros and cons of city vs. island vs. upcountry life. Then we will cover financial considerations, healthcare, driving, learning Thai, and more.

I'm sure you'll have a question or two pertaining to your personal circumstances, so feel free to drop that in the comments section at the end of the post and I'll be happy to answer it for you.

Most people who retire in Thailand have some idea of where they want to live, be that a place they've holidayed before, near friends, or living with a Thai partner. However, if you don't have ties to a particular area but have a couple of places in mind, I encourage you to visit and spend some time there before making a final decision.

Think about what you want from life. If you're 50, you might still want to be out three nights a week enjoying bars and late nights. If you're 70, you might really appreciate peace and quiet and early nights.

Location is everything. If you can't tolerate noise then certainly don't live in a tourist hotspot where there is likely to be a lot of loud music, foot traffic and road noise at all hours. And if you're easily bored, forget about sleepy country towns.

Think about whether you want to be by the beach, in a city location or a rural area. Let's explore those three options.

The Rural Life

Some retirees don't have much of a choice in where they live as their better half already has a forever home in Nakhon Nowhere. Of course it makes sense to live near family, but this isn't always ideal for the foreign national in the equation.

In this case, it might make sense for you to live in a location closer to a bigger town, or a couple of hours away by the beach.

The thing is, the quiet life is great for a while, but socializing is an important aspect of health as we grow older.

You don't want to be so isolated that you seldom talk to anyone. And if you don't speak Thai, you will feel like an outsider among the only people you get to interact with on a daily basis.

This is the problem with rural towns and villages: There may not be another foreign national from your home country for a few miles and, with all the locals speaking Thai, you'll only have your thoughts for company.

A lot of people will say, “I like the quiet life and being on my own”.

Yes, so do I, but I'd think carefully about being too isolated, as loneliness can lead to depression and negatively impact health. Having people to interact with, and having the odd conversation each day, contributes a lot to your mental wellbeing.

Moreover, it puts a lot of pressure on your relationship if your partner is the only person you have for company. You will be reliant on her/him for everything, yet she/he will likely be busy with family a lot of the time.

Having a few friends, someone to have a coffee or a beer with, to play golf with, to chew the fat on western politics with, is important.

Of course, if you're still very active and mobile you can always take regular breaks away from a small town/village and visit the beach or a big city. That said, traveling becomes an increasing hassle and inconvenience as you get older: Long drives, train rides, airport lounges, it's an effort. It's far better to have what you need on your doorstep.

Another challenge of rural living is getting around. Even if you live in a village a couple of kilometers outside of the main town, you will still need a car to get your shopping and make necessary trips.

  • Are you still comfortable driving?
  • Can you afford a car? (They are pricey in Thailand)
  • Does your wife/husband drive?
  • Do you want to be reliant on others for transport?

There is always the option of a motorbike – a small 100cc bike – but do you want to be riding one of those at 65?

Village life isn't as isolated as it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Most villages have a small convenience store, and many have a 7-Eleven and a Tesco within walking distance; it really depends on how pedestrianized the location is.

The Island Life

Living by the sea is good for your health, and what better way to spend retirement than sitting on a sandy beach and looking out over the ocean.

The challenge, however, is finding reasonably priced accommodation in a beach location, and one that meets your needs in terms of noise pollution and local amenities.

One plus point is that unlike central city living, you can find a house to rent or buy rather than having to rent an apartment. Some people won't mind an apartment, and to be fair if you've lived in Thailand for a while you get used to condo living.

But for me personally, the older I get the less appealing an apartment is. You have to pay a big premium to get something spacious in a good location, you have to put up with the noise of neighbors, and if there are two of you it gets a bit claustrophobic.

A motorbike really is essential for getting around an island, and the further you stay from the main town the more likely you are to need transport. That said, if you have the budget to take a taxi whenever you want (taxis are more expensive on islands) then it's a good option in my opinion.

It's not a huge expense though. Let's say you are living in Bophut, Koh Samui, and you took a taxi to Tesco or Big C (there and back) once a week for your shopping, that would only cost you about 400 Baht (about $12).

Koh Samui is a good option for retirement in my opinion. Some say it is too built up now, and in places, compared to 25 years ago that's true. But it still has lots of beauty and charm. The island isn't that big either, so getting around, even by taxi, is easy, and there are a number of beach locations that are away from the crowds.

There are lots of expats there, too, so it's easy to make friends. There are always lots of markets and events going on. And they have lots of good hospital options.

Some areas of Phuket are worth considering too:

  • Rawai is for the quiet life.
  • Kamala is similar to Rawai but for those with a little extra budget.
  • Laguna is great for those who like golf.
  • Patong works for those who still crave the bar scene.

Phuket is a lot bigger than Samui and has less of that island vibe. The towns of Samui are closer together, making it easier to explore. That said, one advantage Phuket has is that some countries fly direct to Phuket airport, whereas Samui always requires a transfer from Bangkok.

This is a big consideration, as long-haul flights can really take it out of you as get older.

Hua Hin is an option too, though the beaches aren't very good and it's quite spread out, making the need for a car much greater. When compared with Phuket and Samui, Hua Hin is much sleepier and feels a tad boring, in my opinion.

And then there's Pattaya, which is somewhat city-like but with a beach to boot, and the red light district, of course.

I'm not really a fan of the area, but it is well located in terms of its proximity to Bangkok and the airports. It has a big retirement community, too. Jomtien, 3 kms down the road, is a more picturesque option.

The City Life

The obvious city to retire to in Thailand is the Big Mango, Bangkok.

Close to the main airports, cheap transportation around the city, restaurants, bars, massage shops and 7-Eleven's on every corner, lots of people to interact with, plenty of expats to meet, Bangkok is super convenient.

The downsides are lots of traffic, heavy pollution, super humid weather, and you will most likely need to live in an apartment because there are fewer options to rent a house in the inner city. Bangkok isn't exactly picturesque, either, and this concrete jungle can wear you down at times.

One thing I love about Bangkok is that there's always something going on. It's hard to feel lonely because life is everywhere, 24/7.

If you're active, you will never get bored exploring the city and its history, and when you're out and about you're interacting with people all the time, who are just as interested in you as you are in them.

It must be said that one thing Bangkok isn't is disability friendly. If you use a wheelchair, part or full time, or walk with a stick and struggle on busy sidewalks and awkward pavements, it probably isn't the city for you.

One might consider Chiang Mai instead of Bangkok; a much smaller city, and one steeped in nature and rich in culture and historical sites.

The main differences between the two are size and how busy Bangkok is. Bangkok is easier to get around, though, unless you are happy to ride a moped, which is essential in Chiang Mai.

Retirement Visa

I've written about the retirement visa extensively, so I won't go into too much detail here. Basically, you have two options:

  1. Get a 90-day single entry Non Immigrant O Visa from your local Thai embassy. Enter the country on this visa. Once in Thailand, open a Thai bank account and deposit 800,000 Baht. Once this money has been in the account for 60 days you can apply for a 1-year extension of stay based on retirement at a local immigration office. You will have to report to immigration every 90 days. This is called 90-day reporting. It can be done online, too. You must be 50 years old to apply for the extension of stay based on retirement. More on the Non O Visa retirement route here.
  2. The other option is to get an O-A visa. This is obtained in your home country at a Thai embassy, and gives you a 1-year stay upon entry to Thailand. It sounds easier than option 1, but it comes with a number of hassles, including having to do a police check (criminal record, etc), and having to buy mandatory health insurance. More on the O-A visa route here.

The easiest way is to follow option 1.

Please note that though we refer to it as such, there is no such thing as a retirement visa, only these two options aimed at retirees: An extension based on retirement, obtained through a Non O Visa, and the O-A Visa, obtained in your home country.

Buying or Building a House

Depending on your financial situation, you might want to buy a property in Thailand.

Before you do, I'd urge you to consider that rent is cheap here and may be the better option. In most cases, renting for 20 years+ will cost you way less than buying a place.

Renting also gives you the freedom to up and move location, or to return back home without the hassle of selling a place or renting it out through agents.

There's an old adage for happiness in Thailand (among expats) that says, “Rent everything and own nothing”.

Bear in mind that a foreigner can't own land in Thailand, unless it's part of a business set-up, which is a little complicated and not available to those who don't have the correct company setup in place.

So if you “buy land” with your partner, he/she will own it; you'll just be fronting the cash, and paying for the house build.

You can lease land, as described here, and you can buy a house on land with a lease. There are also some luxury, so called “branded properties”, that offer a freehold arrangement. These developments circumvent the law using a loophole, as described in my detailed article on ownership, linked below.

Buying a condominium is the easiest way to own property in Thailand. You can own one outright and leave in your Will without the worry of a lease.

Working / Starting a Business

You are not permitted to work on a retirement visa. It's a strict rule and one that you should never break, as doing so will risk deportation.

If you do find a job, or want to start a business, then you will be required to change your visa status.

Starting a business isn't as easy as you would might think, though as detailed in this starting a business article.

Health Insurance

Expats and foreigners are not able to access healthcare in Thailand via the country's universal health program, unless they have worked in Thailand previously and have a social security card.

You may already have a health insurance policy in your home country, so you'll need to check if that will cover you internationally when living in Thailand.

If you haven't got a policy, then you have the option of taking out a local policy, which will cover you in Thailand, or an international policy, which will cover you when traveling abroad or visiting back home.

A domestic policy is obviously cheaper, as it only covers local healthcare.

If you are over 75, and/or you have a serious health condition, you may not be able to get health insurance. Either that or the policy premium will be way too expensive. In this case you should consider putting money away each month to cover any potential illness.

Healthcare is much cheaper in Thailand than in the west, and if you've got a pretty pension and a stack of savings you might be if the advantageous position of not having to worry about hospital care fees, should something unfortunate happen to your health.

+ See a quote for international health insurance here

+ See a quote for local health insurance here

Life Insurance

Something else you might need to sort out is life insurance. If you have an existing policy you will need to check with your policy provider that it can be transferred to Thailand.

If you're getting married or cohabiting with a partner in Thailand, then you may want to consider paying a monthly life insurance premium to ensure your partner is financially secure when you pass.

Quite often it is the case that the foreign national in the relationship is 10 or even 20+ years older than his partner, and therefore likely to die first. It is therefore prudent to make plans for her/his life without you.

Because you are moving country, there may be other financial investments and considerations that you need advice on, too. For life insurance and financial planning, you can speak with my Thailand-based IFA.

+ Contact my IFA here with your enquiry

Opening a Bank Account

There are plenty of options for expats when it comes to banking. You will be able to get a basic checking account with a debit card and online banking.

Bangkok Bank and Kasikorn Bank are typically the most foreigner friendly banks, and Bangkok Bank works very well with Wise, which we will discuss next.

Open a bank account as soon as you can, as it makes life a lot easier. You will also need to deposit the 800,000 Baht in a Thai bank for a minimum of 60 days before you can do your 1-year extension of stay (based on retirement) at an immigration office.

Sending Money to Thailand

You will no doubt have to transfer money into Thailand on a regular basis, be it for spending, rent, or big purchases like a car or property.

The cheapest way to do this is through Wise. Basically, you send money to Wise from your home bank account and Wise then sends the money to your Thai bank account.

The advantage is that you avoid sending and receiving fees, and you get the mid-market exchange rate, as opposed to the rip-off rate given by banks. All you pay is a small handling fee to Wise.

+ Read more about Wise here.

Driving License

Don't forget to bring your driving license with you. You won't be able to hire or buy a car or motorbike without one.

If you are retiring in Thailand, then you will need to apply for a license. This involves taking a number of tests.

If you already have a driving license from back home, then you will need to do the following when applying for your Thai license:

  1. A short eyesight test (color perception, peripheral vision, depth perception)
  2. A reflex examination
  3. A computer based test (available in Thai & English language only) on the rules of driving

If you don't have an existing license from your home country, then you will need to take the Thai driving test too.

Learning Thai

Socially speaking, it pays to learn Thai, so you can converse with taxi drivers, shop keepers, and those in a position of authority.

Speaking Thai can also save you money, as your bartering skills will be that much better.

It makes sense though, right? If you live in a country you should be able to speak the language. It's a no-brainer.

I know, at 50+ it's not easy to learn a new language, let alone one with a different alphabet. The good news, however, is that Thai isn't hard to learn. In fact, you will be surprised just how quickly you pick words up and how soon you are able to form basic sentences.

A great place to start is Thaipod101 – online learning software designed to help you learn Thai fast. It's free to get started.

+ Register a free account here

Retirement / Care Homes

It's a bit gloomy to think about our final years of life, but being in the last couple of laps, so to speak, means your health can take a sudden turn for the worse.

What will your plan be if you suddenly become immobile, develop dementia, or need round-the-clock care for a serious illness?

Some maybe lucky enough to have a partner who is willing to become a carer, but even that might not be viable after a period of time. The good news is that there are care homes in Thailand that cater for expats. All the most popular areas of the country have options.

I have written about these retirement homes here.

Making a Will

Most expats gloss over the need for a Will because their investments are mostly back home. However, having just a few assets in Thailand makes a Thai Will necessary.

For example, if you're on a retirement extension, you have 800k Baht wrapped up in a Thai bank account. You will no doubt have another account for withdrawals. You may end up buying a car or a motorbike, too, and you will have possessions in your home.

Dying without a Will makes it problematic for your family to access your estate, and the Thai legal system isn't easy to navigate.

A Will that clearly outlines your intentions for the property you leave in Thailand will make the process smooth, and negate the need for family members to spend money on lawyer and court fees to prove their right to your estate.

You can read more on making a Will in Thailand here.

In Summary

As you can see, there's a lot to think about when considering retirement in Thailand, so I hope this guide helps make your planning easier.

Hopefully you can use this as a checklist to make sure you have all the bases covered.

This guide could easily have been 15,000 words+, but rather than provide every detail here I have tried to make the sections concise and provide enough of an overview for you to get a good understanding. And then, where further information might be useful, I have linked to a dedicated article elsewhere on the site that provides comprehensive information and all the finer details.

I will update this guide periodically if I think of anything else you might need to add to your retirement checklist, but in the meantime please feel free to ask questions below. And if you know someone else who is considering retiring here, please forward them this guide so they can benefit from the information too.

Cannabis Law in Thailand: A Guide to Growing & Smoking Marijuana


Cannabis Law in Thailand: A Guide to Growing & Smoking Marijuana

Thailand's Marijuana laws have evolved dramatically in recent times. What was once considered an illegal drug, unsafe for society, is now legal, mostly.

Thailand approved the decriminalization of cannabis, agreeing that the Health Ministry drop cannabis from its list of controlled drugs.

Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul signed an announcement removing the drug from Category 5 of the country’s list of narcotics, which is now in effect.

Previously regulated under the Narcotics Act, cannabis, or ganja  (กัญชา – kancha), as it is known in Thailand, can be grown and sold and consumed.

There's still some uncertainty surrounding public use and how much can be grown. But from the buzz seen around the nation, it seems that cannabis is now fully open for personal and commercial use.

To help clarify some of the finer print, here's the answers to a number of common questions.

Is Marijuana Legal in Thailand?

Yes, but with some regulation.

It is legal to grow cannabis, but to do so you need permission.

Home growers must first tell the government via a website or smartphone app. Thus far, nearly 750,000 applications have been received from key growers.

Industrial and commercial marijuana growers must obtain a license from the Food and Drug Authority.

Cannabis can be used by restaurants. But the leaves and roots used in cooking must be supplied by FDA certified producers and the THC level must be less than 0.2%

You can also buy cookies and teas and other snacks in some stores, all infused with the sacred plant.

However, the over-arching rule in the consumption of cannabis is that the THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) content must be less than 0.2%.

THC is the main psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the feeling of being “stoned”.

This means that the products aren't very strong, and certainly not on a par with a hash brownie from an Amsterdam cafe.

That said, people don't appear to be sticking to that rule, and this is where the confusion lies. For example, the Highland Café in Bangkok is already selling buds over the counter, which look pretty potent to me!

Can I Smoke Cannabis in Thailand?

Yes, but smoking in public can still be considered a public nuisance, so it's important to remember this if Somchai offers you a joint at a party.

Those caught smoking in public being a “nuisance” can be subject to fines of up to 25,000 baht ($723) and prison terms of up to three months.

This seems a little contradictory, though, considering Thailand just released 3,000 prisoners previously convicted of cannabis offenses, and is set to release more.

Despite politicians claiming there are these restrictions,  it appears there will be no effort to police what people can grow and smoke at home, aside from registering with the government and declaring it is for medical purposes.

If Marijuana is Not Illegal, How Can You Be Arrested for Smoking?

Good question, and this is currently unclear. Those who are familiar with the visa system in Thailand will know that this is how things work here.

When a new law is introduced it takes a while to iron out all of the areas overlooked in the development process and clarify what's allowed and what isn't, and why!

My advice, as a foreign national, is to let Thai people pave the way first. Sit back for a few months and wait for things to become clearer. Smoke at home, indoors for now.

What's the Punishment if You're Caught Smoking or Growing Without Permission?

As far as I know the following legal guidelines still apply, but whether they will be amended or enforced is unclear at this point.

  • Production, importation or exportation: 2-15 years imprisonment and a fine of 200,000 – 1,500,000 Baht
  • Disposal or possession for the purpose of disposal: 2-10 years imprisonment or a fine of 40,000 – 200,000 Baht or both
  • Quantity over 10 kilograms: Penalty is increased to a maximum of 15 years and a fine of 200,000 – 1,500,000 Baht
  • Possession: Imprisonment not exceeding 5 years and or a fine not exceeding 100,000 Baht or both
  • Consumption: Imprisonment not exceeding 1 year and a fine of 100,000 – 1,000,000

Can I Get Prescription Cannabis in Thailand?

Yes. But note that the strength of medical cannabis in Thailand may be much weaker than you are used to back home in California or Amsterdam.

This has been one of the major complaints from those suffering with long-term illness who have historically relied on a blackmarket supply.

Users have been so disappointed with the strength of medical cannabis that many have returned to the blackmarket to get a more potent supply.

Is There Going to Be a Cannabis Sandbox?

This has been proposed but just how seriously is not clear.

Supposedly there will be an area of Thailand designated to ganja enthusiasts.

You'll be able to spend your holiday smoking, eating, and drinking cannabis-based products until your heart's content. Whether you'll actually get stoned or not is a different matter, because all the product will need to be under 0.2% THC.

It would certainly be a novelty feeling, but I doubt it will rival the cafes of Amsterdam. I don't think it will happen, certainly not this year anyway.

In Summary

Thailand is the most progressive country in the region when it comes to cannabis growth and consumption, but you might want to wait a while before you walk down the street with a big doobie hanging out your mouth and smile at the local bobby.

Do expect to see cafes popping up, and pretty much every dish being advertised with cannabis as a special ingredient.

Will the 0.2% THC be policed? I doubt it. It would waste a lot of police time. Though it could be a good tea-money maker for the BIB.

Most travelers will just do what they've always done: pop along to one of the bars on Phi Phi or Koh Phangan and pick up a sealer bag of the good stuff and smoke away, while the bar pays the local police to turn a blind eye

Thailand Prohibited Jobs for Foreigners


Thailand Prohibited Jobs for Foreigners 

I often get asked about job opportunities in Thailand for specific industries, and “Can I move to Thailand and work as a [enter job here].

The answer is usually no – because Thailand prohibits foreign nationals from working in many areas of industry.

The large majority of the restricted positions are trades; jobs that require a specific skill set. The reason for the prohibition is to ensure that Thai nationals aren't priced out of the market, or even out-skilled, which would lead to job losses and increased poverty – particularly among the lower classes.

But what about free market capitalism?

I hear you. Surely the more competition the better for the consumer: skill levels rise and pricing becomes more competitive.

It's not that simple. And here's why…

restricted-jobs-thailand Prohibited Jobs for Foreigners In Thailand These occupations are strictly prohibited with no exceptions:  Wood carving Driving motor vehicles, driving a non-mechanically propelled carrier or driving a domestic mechanically propelled carrier, except for piloting international aircraft or forklift driving Auction (holding auctions, or running an auction house) Cutting or polishing diamonds or precious stones Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment Cloth weaving (by hand) Mat weaving or utensil making from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw, bamboo, bamboo pellicle, grass, chicken feather, coconut leaf stick, fibre, wire or other materials Mulberry paper making (by hand) Lacquerware making Making Thai musical instruments Niello ware making Gold ornament, silverware or pink gold making Bronze ware making Thai doll making Alms bowl making Silk products making (by hand) Buddha image making Paper or cloth umbrella making Brokerage or agency work, except brokerage or agency working in international trade or investment Thai massage Cigarette rolling by hand Tour guide or sightseeing tour operation Peddling Manual typesetting of Thai characters Silk reeling and twisting (by hand) Clerical or secretarial work Legal services or services in legal proceedings,

You can't just move to Thailand and start selling fruit out the back of a truck, that's for sure!

Why Thailand Prohibits Foreign Nationals from Certain Jobs

The problem is that prices are already low in a number of trades, mainly, because, unlike in the West, trades like plumbing, massage/beauty, and taxi driving just aren't valued. They are seen as inherently low-paid jobs reserved for those with a lack of further education.

In contrast, where I'm from (the UK), a good plumber, plasterer or electrician is highly valued and worth holding onto, as is a cab driver who knows the West End like the back of his hand. Those in these areas of industry make very good money.

But, imagine if there was an influx of hairdressers to Thailand from Laos or Malaysia, all willing to cut hair at half the price because they are prepared to accept lower living standards in exchange for being able to send money back home to mom and dad for a better life.

This would heavily impact an already saturated labour market and price Thais out.

Conversely, imagine if plumbers and plasterers from the West were allowed to work in Thailand. They would charge more, but a lot less than back home because they don't need to earn as much to live.

So now you have a choice: hire Somchai to plaster your living room for 1,000 Baht, or Derek for 3,000 Baht.

Given the difficulty of finding reliable, competent tradesman in Thailand, I think a lot of foreign nationals would choose Derek. I also think the Hi-So Thais might consider hiring Western tradesman to elevate face and show their wealth, and get a better job done (maybe).

This type of situation would be unacceptable in a highly patriotic country like Thailand. People would get very upset if they saw foreign businesses sprouting up everywhere that directly competed with the industry they work in.

Never forget the words of the Thai national anthem

Thais always come first. That's how it should be, right?

Am I missing something here? Let me know in the comments section.

1. Prohibited Jobs for Foreigners In Thailand

These occupations are strictly prohibited with no exceptions:

  • Wood carving
  • Driving motor vehicles, driving a non-mechanically propelled carrier or driving a domestic mechanically propelled carrier, except for piloting international aircraft or forklift driving
  • Auction (holding auctions, or running an auction house)
  • Cutting or polishing diamonds or precious stones
  • Haircutting, hairdressing or beauty treatment
  • Cloth weaving (by hand)
  • Mat weaving or utensil making from reeds, rattan, hemp, straw, bamboo, bamboo pellicle, grass, chicken feather, coconut leaf stick, fibre, wire or other materials
  • Mulberry paper making (by hand)
  • Lacquerware making
  • Making Thai musical instruments
  • Niello ware making
  • Gold ornament, silverware or pink gold making
  • Bronze ware making
  • Thai doll making
  • Alms bowl making
  • Silk products making (by hand)
  • Buddha image making
  • Paper or cloth umbrella making
  • Brokerage or agency work, except brokerage or agency working in international trade or investment
  • Thai massage
  • Cigarette rolling by hand
  • Tour guide or sightseeing tour operation
  • Peddling
  • Manual typesetting of Thai characters
  • Silk reeling and twisting (by hand)
  • Clerical or secretarial work
  • Legal services or services in legal proceedings, except for the following occupations: Performing duties of arbitration. Providing assistance or representation in the arbitral proceedings in the event that the law applicable to the dispute being considered by the arbitrators is not the Thai law

2. Prohibited Jobs with Conditional Exception

These occupations are prohibited but with a condition whereby an international agreement or obligation to which Thailand is bound under law may permit work.

  • Controlling, auditing, performing or providing accounting services, except:
    • Occasional internal audit work
    • Work under international agreements or obligations to which Thailand is bound, which the Professional Association provides a certificate
  • Civil engineering concerning counselling, project planning, design and calculation, construction supervision or manufacturing, inspection, administration work to organise the system, research and test, except those who are registered under the ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangement (MRA) and other international agreements
  • Professional architectural work concerning project study, design, construction management and supervision, inspection or consulting, except for professional architects under the ASEAN MRA for architectural services and other international agreements

3. Skilled & Semi-Skilled Foreign Worker Exceptions

The following is a list of prohibited jobs that allow for an exception for foreigners when working for an employer.

  • Agriculture, animal husbandry, forestry or fishery
  • Bricklaying, carpentry or construction works
  • Mattress or quilt blanket making
  • Knife making
  • Shoemaking
  • Hat making
  • Dress making
  • Pottery or ceramic ware making

4. Foreign Worker Exceptions Under Treaties

The following are prohibited occupations which a foreigner may work in if 1. they have an employer, 2. they are permitted to enter Thailand by Immigration Law under a Memorandum of Understanding between the Thai government and the foreign government:

  1. Labour (manual work and menial work that requires physical strength)
  2. Shop front selling at a wholesale or retail establishment, as well as selling goods at stalls or shops located in markets or by roadsides

If you're looking for jobs you can do, check out my job opportunities post.

Prosecution for Working Illegally In Thailand

The Department of Employment issues strict penalties for those found in violation of employment law.

Companies found to be hiring a foreign worker without a work permit face a fine between 10,000 and 100,000 Baht per worker.

Repeat offenders can face up to 1-year in jail and a further find of 50,000 to 200,000 Baht. The offending company will also receive a three-year ban on the hiring of foreign workers.

As an employee, you can expect to receive a fine between 5,000 and 50,000 Baht, and possibly be deported

For employees, any foreigner found to be working without a work permit or working beyond what is permitted by Thai law, face fines of between 5,000 and 50,000 baht and could also be deported.

There are those who will say “they never check”, or say that it's easy to “live below the radar”. In some cases this is true, but the Ministry of Labour and Department of Employment make it very easy to report a person you suspect of working illegally.

There is a hotline number, 1506 (option 2), and 1694, respectively. A neighbor you have fallen out with, a Thai or foreign national that has taken a disliking to you or envies you in some way, may just drop you in the doghouse.


 2014 Farm Bill

Shorthand for the Agricultural Act of 2014, federal legislation concerning domestic agricultural programs. It contained provisions authorizing the cultivation of industrial hemp for research purposes pursuant to state agricultural department public programs or by certain public universities.

2018 Farm Bill

Shorthand for the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018, federal legislation concerning domestic agricultural programs. It removed hemp from the definition of “marihuana” under the federal Controlled Substances Act and gave the United States Department of Agriculture authority to establish a domestic hemp production program in accordance with state departments of agriculture and tribal governing bodies.



Goods, devices, or products that can be used to cultivate, process, manufacture, or consume cannabis.

Administrative Procedure Act

Federal law that dictates the procedures that federal government agencies must follow, including for promulgating regulations, undertaking enforcement actions, and issuing penalties. Most, if not all states and even many local jurisdictions have administrative procedure legislation that mirrors the Administrative Procedure Act.


Term used by the United States Food and Drug Administration and state departments of health for certain foods, dietary supplements, or products they deem unsafe. Typical grounds for deeming a product adulterated are that it contains poisonous or deleterious substances that can harm a consumer.

Age Limitations

The minimum age a person must be to possess or use cannabis goods as set by state or local laws. All recreational use jurisdictions have minimum 21-year-old age limitations for consumers. Medicinal use jurisdictions vary.

Aiding and Abetting

Criminal liability imposed on a person who assists a third party in committing a crime if that person intends to assist the facilitation of a crime.

Anti-Money Laundering (AML)

Federal laws designed to prohibit concealing as legitimate illegally obtained income. Money derived from state-licensed commercial cannabis activity is still considered unlawful for purposes of federal AML laws.

Asset Forfeiture

Legal process for law enforcement to seize and take possession of any asset – including real property, equipment, and intellectual property – it alleges is involves violations of criminal, civil, or administrative laws or regulations. Asset forfeiture proceedings are instituted in rem against the property itself and the person from whom it was seized must intervene and file claims in order to reclaim it.


Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)

Federal legislation from 1970, also known as the Currency and Foreign Transactions Reporting Act, that requires financial institutions to assist federal agencies with preventing money laundering, including by filing suspicious activity reports with the United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network.


With respect to cannabis, plant material.

Blumenauer Amendment

See Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment.

Broad Spectrum

In the context of manufactured cannabinoid products, products that contain cannabis plant extracts other than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).


Cannabis dispensary employees that serve and make recommendations to customers.



Chemical compounds within the cannabis genus that include CBD and THC. There are nearly 120 known cannabinoids.


Genus of plants within the Cannabaceae family, which includes both marijuana and hemp.

Cannabis Tracking System (CTS)

Generic name for any number of “seed to sale” tracking systems, typically required by state licensing bodies for licensee use.


Area within a licensed cannabis cultivation premises, whether indoor, outdoor, or mixed-light, where cannabis plants grow. May include mature plants depending on state.


Cannabichromene, a cannabinoid.


Cannabidiol, one of the most commercially popular cannabinoids.


Cannabigerol, a cannabinoid.


Cannabinol, a cannabinoid.

Champ v. Commissioner

2007 Tax Court case where the court held that expenses related to a “separate trade or business” shown to be unrelated to cannabis business, were deductible.

Child-Resistant Packaging (CRP)

Packaging designed to reduce the risk of children accessing the contents of the package. Many jurisdictions require cannabis businesses to use CRP.


A common industry acronym for “cost of goods sold.” Cf. I.R.C. § 280E.

Compassionate Use Act of 1996 (Prop. 215)

California voter initiative that permitted physicians to recommend marijuana to qualified patients for medical purposes and provided an affirmative defense to prosecution for qualified patients who consumed medically recommended marijuana and their primary caregivers. It was the first law in the United States after the passage of the Controlled Substances Act that created state-legal protections for medical marijuana consumers.

Conant v. Walters

2002 case decided by the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed a lower court’s order enjoining federal policies that would have prohibited physicians from recommending marijuana to patients on First Amendment grounds.


Products derived from cannabis flower using mechanical, chemical, or other means, and include cannabinoids and terpenes but not plant biomass. Common concentrates include oil, wax, shatter, butter, badder, resin, and rosin.


Criminal liability imposed where two or more people conspire to commit an illegal act. Generally, the same charges can be brough against all conspirators, even ones who did not commit the illegal act themselves.

Controlled Substances Act (CSA)

Federal legislation signed by U.S. President Richard Nixon in 1970. The CSA segregates a host of drugs into five schedules. “Marihuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinols” are currently a Schedule I controlled substances. States have each adopted “mini” controlled substances acts, generally mirroring the federal CSA.

Controlled Substances Act Schedules

Categories of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act, ranging from Schedule I to Schedule V. Schedule I is the most restricted and it includes “marihuana” and “tetrahydrocannabinols” but excludes “hemp”.

Controlled Substances Import and Export Act

Federal legislation that regulates the import and export of substances on Controlled Substances Act schedules and is implemented by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration in conjunction with other federal agencies.

Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971

An international treaty which requires signatory countries to harmonize their internal laws for controlling many psychoactive (including cannabis) substances.

Corporate Governance

A set of procedures adopted to control and manage the operation of a corporation, limited liability company (LLC), or other type of business entity.


The planting, growing, and/or harvesting of cannabis or other plants.

Customs and Border Protection

Federal agency housed within the United States Department of Homeland Security that, among other things, enforces immigration laws regarding participants in the domestic cannabis industry.


DEA Interim Final Rule, Implementation of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018

Interim regulation of the United States Drug Enforcement Agency that took effect on August 21, 2020 and purported to clarify changes to federal law as a result of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. The rule holds that all synthetic cannabinoids, and any hemp derivatives containing more than .3% Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are deemed marijuana for purposes of the Controlled Substances Act. The rule is currently being challenged in federal court.


A process used for, among other things, determining levels of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in cannabis by heating the cannabis to convert the THC acid (THCA) into THC. Critics of decarboxylation note that test results contain higher levels of THC and can render legally cultivated hemp unlawful.


A process or status by which a criminal law or penalties imposed for violating a criminal law are reduced, reclassified, removed or disregarded, or by which law enforcement is directed to re-prioritize the enforcement of such laws. It generally does not completely remove the criminal status of a prohibited act.

Delta 8 THC

An analog of the delta 9 compound of disputed legality. Often advertised controversially as “legal weed” and “weed light” when sourced from hemp.

Delta 9 THC

The primary psychoactive component found in the cannabis plant.

Development Agreement

Contract between a municipality and a property owner or developer governing the obligations of the parties concerning development of the property.

Dietary Supplement

Orally ingested products that contain dietary ingredients, including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and herbs or botanicals, as well as other substances that can be used to supplement the diet, which are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration pursuant to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


Brick-and-mortal retail facility from which cannabis products are sold to customers.


Process for separating cannabis components in liquid mixtures through heating.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)

A U.S. federal agency housed within the U.S. Department of Justice and established in 1973 during Nixon administration. The DEA enforces the Controlled Substances Act.

Drug Exclusion Rule

Provision of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act that prohibits adding a substance to a food, dietary supplement, or other product if the substance is an active ingredient in a previously approved drug.

Dry Weight

Measurement for determining percentage of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) levels by weight after removing moisture from cannabis.



Food product or beverage containing cannabis extract.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS)

Technology used for inhaling nicotine products, and includes e-cigarettes and vaping devices. Certain federal and state laws and regulations define ENDS broadly and consequently may include vape products that contain cannabis instead of nicotine.

Enforcement Action

Legal action or process undertaken by a government agency to ensure or enforce compliance with laws or regulations, and generally is commenced with the issuance of a warning letter, notice of violation, notice to correct, or similar notice.


Drug approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration in 2018 for the treatment of severe and rare forms of epilepsy, which contains cannabidiol.

Excise Tax

Taxes levied on specific goods, such as alcohol, tobacco, or cannabis.


Process of erasing or sealing criminal records, which varies in different states.


Concentrated cannabis products created through various concentration processes.


Federal Analogue Act

Federal legislation passed in 1986 to supplement the Controlled Substances Act by deeming any chemical intended for human consumption that is “substantially similar” to a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance as being on the applicable schedule.

Federal Illegality Doctrine

Legal doctrine representing courts’ refusal to grant relief or enforce contracts for illegal activity, including for marijuana-related activity or goods.

Federal Illegality Waivers

Contract provisions where parties agree not to raise the illegal nature of marijuana activity as a defense to enforcement of the contract in judicial proceedings, and likely have little or no practical effect.


Crimes that are more serious in nature than misdemeanors, such as crimes of violence or serious drug offenses, that are punishable by more than one year of imprisonment or death.

FinCen Guidance

2014 guidance of the United States Department of Treasury, Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, entitled “BSA Expectations Regarding Marijuana-Related Businesses,” which provides guidance to financial institutions seeking to provide financial services to cannabis businesses. The FinCEN Guidance is based on the 2013 U.S. Department of Justice Memorandum entitled “Guidance Regarding Marijuana Enforcement” authored by Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole.


The smokable portion of a (female) cannabis plant.

Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

A U.S. federal agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) responsible for regulating the safety of foods, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and tobacco products, pursuant to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA)

U.S. federal legislation passed in 1938 that charges the Food and Drug Administration with regulating the safety of foods, drugs, medical devices, cosmetics, and due to recent amendments, tobacco products.

Foreign Direct Investment

Type of international investment in which residents of a foreign country invest money in a domestic business. Foreign direct investment in cannabis companies is regulated according to the laws of each jurisdiction, and in some cases is prohibited.

Full Spectrum

In the context of manufactured cannabinoid products, products that contain cannabis plant extracts, including THC. For products derived from hemp, levels of THC typically do not exceed .3%.



Specific features and makeup of different types of cannabis plants.

Gonzalez v. Raich

2005 United States Supreme Court decision holding that the Controlled Substances Act does not exceed Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution and that Congress has the authority to prohibit medical marijuana activities even in states that allowed it.

Good Moral Character Determination

A determination made by the federal government that an applicant for naturalization has been, for the proceeding five-year period, and will continue to be a person of good moral character. Violation of any controlled substances law (including with respect to marijuana) can be a conditional bar to good moral character.



The process of gathering mature cannabis crops.

Health Claims

Claims made in connection with foods or dietary supplements that characterize the relationship of any substance therein to a disease or health-related condition.


A form of cannabis that, according to U.S. federal law, contains less than .3% Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) on a dry weight basis. Hemp was removed from the definition of “marihuana” on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018.

Hemp Production Program

Federal program established by the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 pursuant to which the United States Department of Agriculture approves state or tribal hemp production regulatory programs or implements such programs directly in states or tribal jurisdictions that opt out of primary regulatory authority.

Holding Company

A company, the primary business of which is to hold part or all of one or more other companies’ equity interests such as stock or membership interests.


I.R.C. § 280E

A federal law that prohibits tax deductions or credits on a trade or business relating to the trafficking of substances on Schedule I or Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act. Judicial decisions have allowed deductions only for the cost of goods sold, or deductions tied to a “separate trade or business.”

Immature Plant

(Female) cannabis plant that has not flowered.

Immigration and Nationality Act

Federal law that governs immigration and citizenship in the United States.

In Rem Jurisdiction

Jurisdiction a court has over property as opposed to a person or entity. Civil forfeiture actions are brought in rem against seized property. 

Industrial Hemp

Type of hemp grown for the purpose of harvesting stalks and seeds, not for harvesting flowering buds commonly used as source material for cannabinoid derivative products.

Infused Products

Products containing cannabis concentrates, such as edible cannabis products or infused pre-rolls.


A new law or constitutional amendment proposed and voted by the people. States may have “direct initiatives”, which qualify for ballot placement upon attainment of a certain number of signatures, or “indirect initiatives” which undergo legislative review after attainment of a certain number of signatures, but prior to ballot placement. Some states allow for both processes. 

Intermediate Hemp Extract

Material extracted from cannabis plants in its in-process or intermediate form.


A process for extracting or distilling a single, pure cannabinoid from cannabis plants. 


Kennedy v. Helix TCS

2019 case decided by the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that held that federal employment laws apply to cannabis businesses notwithstanding that they are engaging in federally unlawful conduct.


Land Use

Body of law governing the development of private and public land. 


The process by which criminal laws are removed such that the act or thing previously criminalized is no longer criminalized and, generally, becomes regulated by federal, state, and/or local government agencies.

Licenses or Permits

Official permissions granted by government agencies to undertake actions, operate businesses, or possess products that would otherwise be unlawful to do, operate, or possess.

Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)

Legal entities incorporated pursuant to state law that exist, receive profits and losses, are taxed, own property, and are held liable for obligations independent of their owners. Ownership interests are represented by membership interests or units. LLC owners are called members, who may delegate management authority to managers and/or officers.

Local Licensing

Cannabis business licensing done or required by a city of county, separate and apart from what is required by a state.



Shorthand for mergers and acquisitions. Mergers include the combination of multiple existing businesses into one surviving entity. Acquisitions are the purchase of a business or its assets from its original owners.


Process of infusing, extracting, or otherwise making a cannabis product.


A form of cannabis that is listed on Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act due to the higher presence of Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Mature Plants

Cannabis plants that have begun to flower or completed flowering.

Medicinal Use Laws

Laws permitting cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and use for medicinal purposes. 

Minor Decoy

Law enforcement agent or employee who is younger than the legal age required to purchase cannabis products and who attempts to purchase cannabis from licensed businesses in undercover compliance checks or sting operations.


Term used by the United States Food and Drug Administration and state departments of health for certain foods, dietary supplements, or products with label or packaging claims that are false or misleading or do not contain required statements.


Crimes that are less serious in nature that are generally subject to less severe penalties than for felony crimes.


Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act of 2020, H.R.3884, bill in the federal House of Representatives that would have removed marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, expunged certain criminal convictions, and imposed excise taxes on cannabis sales, among other things. The MORE Act passed in the House of Representatives with a vote of 228-164 on December 4, 2020.

Multi-State Operator (MSO)

Cannabis company that operates in multiple states. Generally, MSOs are structured as holding companies (sometime public) with cannabis-licensed subsidiaries in multiple states.



The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit group with state-level chapters that advocates for the reform of marijuana laws. Founded in 1970 concurrent with promulgation of the Controlled Substances Act.

Notices of Violation

Notice from a government agency informing the recipient of alleged violations of laws, regulations, or conditions for a permit or license.


Businesses that cultivate cannabis seeds, clones, and immature plants propagation by third parties.


Ogden Memo

Federal memorandum issued on October 19, 2009 by former Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden with the subject “Investigations and Prosecutions in States Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana.” Followed by the first Cole Memo of August 29, 2013 and rescinded by the Sessions Memo of January 4, 2018.

Olive v. Commissioner

2015 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Case which held that a medical marijuana dispensary owner was not entitled to any business tax deductions, even for caregiving services provided alongside the sale of marijuana, because his business consisted solely of trafficking marijuana and was not a “separate trade or business.”

Owners, Financial Interest Holders, and True Parties in Interest

Categories of persons or entities that have certain levels or types, depending on state and local law, of equity interests in, control of, or relationships with licensed cannabis businesses that typically must be disclosed and/or background checked by state government authorities.



Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking Act, a federal law that, among other things, regulates the mailing of cigarettes. It was amended in 2020 with the Preventing Online Sales of E-Cigarettes to Children Act, which modified the definition of “cigarettes” to include Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), thereby restricting the mailing of ENDS.


Accessories or other devices for use in connection with cannabis.


Forms of intellectual property rights for inventions that are granted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Patents confer exclusive rights to make, use, and sell the underlying invention. 

Patient Caregivers

Persons who provide medical cannabis to other qualifying medical consumers.


Smokable cannabis products rolled in paper, plant material, or other substances.


Specific structure or land that is licensed for specific cannabis activities.

Product Recalls

Process by which defective or unsafe cannabis products are voluntarily or mandatorily retrieved from consumers or other entities in a supply chain. Voluntary recalls are initiated by a manufacturer or supplier upon discovery of a defect or unsafe condition. Mandatory recalls are required by law or government action.


Blanket term for any ballot measure to be voted on by the people. May be an initiative or a referendum. 

Public Company

Catch-all name for a widely held company whose shares are traded on a public exchange. Plant-touching public U.S. cannabis companies are limited to over-the-counter (OTC) domestic exchanges, or may be listed on one of the Canadian stock exchanges. 


Qualifying Medical Conditions

Specific medical conditions entitling a person to purchase, possess, and/or consume medicinal cannabis within a certain jurisdiction.


Process of segregating cannabis products, pursuant to a government order or voluntarily.



Persons appointed, by courts or otherwise, as custodian of a distressed (generally bankrupt) business to oversee the businesses operations and pay debts.

Recreational Use

Laws permitting cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, sales, and use for any purpose by persons over a specific age, generally 21 years.


A voting protocol where voters decide to approve or reject an existing law. Referenda typically occur when changes are made to state constitutions, or to taxation.


Rules created by government agencies pursuant to legislative authority, with the force and effect of law. In the U. S., regulations are promulgated through a process known as “notice and comment” where a state or federal agency publishes draft regulations and solicits comments from the public before finalizing the regulations.


Process for remedying defects or unsafe conditions cannabis or cannabis goods.

Residency Requirements

Requirements imposed by state or local governments on applicants for cannabis permits or licenses, under which some or all owners of the business must reside in a specific geographic area to qualify for licensure.


Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, federal law that allows for civil and criminal penalties and private rights of action against conspirators for crimes that amount to racketeering liability.

Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment

Federal appropriations legislation first passed in 2014 that prevents federal government interference with state medical cannabis laws. Now known as the Blumenauer Amendment. 



A tax status elected by an eligible corporation or LLC that passes corporate income, losses and credits through to shareholders for federal tax purposes.

SAFE Banking Act

Secure and Fair Enforcement Act, H.R. 1595, a bill in the federal House of Representatives that would have reduced or eliminated penalties against financial institutions for providing banking services to state-compliant cannabis businesses, and would have limited the scope of anti-money laundering laws for state-compliant cannabis businesses.

Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 (Proposition 65)

California ballot initiative that, among other things, requires businesses selling products in California to provide consumer warnings of the presence in such products of chemicals deemed by the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm. Cannabis smoke and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, among other cannabis-related substances, are listed chemicals.

Safe Streets Alliance v. Hickenlooper

2017 case from the federal Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals that held that participation in state-legal cannabis industries was racketeering activity within the meaning of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), but nevertheless held that the plaintiffs – a neighboring farm – failed to provide concrete financial damages as a result.

Sessions Memo

Memorandum issued on January 4, 2018 by former United States Attorney General Jefferson B. Sessions, III that rescinded previous nationwide guidance specific to marijuana enforcement. The Sessions Memo gave United States Attorneys discretion to prosecute federal cannabis law violations, even if consistent with state law.

Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961

An international treaty that prohibits the production and supply of certain drugs. The treaty required signatory nations to enact legislation to carry out its requirements. The Controlled Substances Act was enacted in the U.S. pursuant to the Single Convention.

Social Equity Programs

Cannabis licensing programs or employment requirements designed to foster access, employment, or ownership for persons from marginalized communities or victims of the War on Drugs.

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Procedures for operating a certain aspect of a business that include, among other things, recall procedures, security procedures, quality assurance procedures, and more. Cannabis businesses must often submit SOPs to state and local regulators with their license or permit applications.


Genetic variants of cannabis plants that have different tastes, aromas, visual qualities, cannabinoid concentrations, and/or effects.

Structure-Function Claims

Claims made in connection with dietary supplements concerning the effect of a nutrient or dietary ingredient on the structure or function of the human body.


A company that is owned or controlled by another company, typically referred to as a holding or parent company.

Suspicious Activity Report (SAR)

Filings that must be made by financial institutions with the United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network if the financial institution knows or suspects an account holder is engaged in or trying to cover up illegal activity.

Synthetic Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids or other compounds with psychoactive effects created through synthetic means. Synthetic cannabinoids are not always similar in structure or function to cannabinoids.



Compounds within cannabis plants that create aromas and flavors.


Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol. A cannabinoid found in the cannabis genus that has intoxicating effects. Δ8- and Δ10-tetrahydrocannabinol also have intoxicating effects but are expressed in far lower natural quantities than Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol.


Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid is a precursor of tetrahydrocannabinol that can convert into Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol upon drying or heating through decarboxylation.


Tetrahydrocannabivarin, a cannabinoid.


Cannabis concentrates dissolved in ethanol or other alcohols, which are generally consumed orally using droppers.

Track and Trace

Program for tracking and reporting the movement of cannabis and cannabis goods through all stages of the supply chain.

Trade Sample

Samples of cannabis goods sent to licensees or their employees for the purpose of generating additional business.

Trade Secret

Information that has actual or potential independent economic value by virtue of not being generally known, and has value to others who cannot legitimately obtain the information, and is subject to reasonable efforts to maintain its secrecy. Trade secrets are used prevalently in the cannabis industry, especially with the relative lack of availability of formal trademark protections. 

Trademarks and Service Marks

Words, names, symbols, or devices that are used in commerce to identify and distinguish goods or services. Trademark registrations are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and state agencies, though the USPTO restricts access to trademark registrations for cannabis due to its current federal illegality. 


Appendages on cannabis flower that contain cannabinoids and terpenes.


United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS)

Federal agency that oversees, among other things, naturalization applications. The USCIS determined that use of marijuana or participation in state-legal marijuana programs still constitutes a conditional bar to good moral character determinations for naturalization eligibility.

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Federal agency charged with regulating various agricultural industries, including the domestic hemp production program.

United States Department of Justice (DOJ)

Federal agency charged with enforcement of United States federal laws.

United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN)

Federal agency that, among other things, oversees financial institutions with respect to certain anti-money laundering laws.

United States v. McIntosh

2016 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals case holding that the federal government could not prevent the implementation of state laws authorizing individuals from using, distributing, possession or cultivating marijuana, due to Congressional restraints on spending. 

Universal Symbol

A design or image that conveys a commonly and widely recognized message. Many states require universal symbols to be affixed to cannabis good packaging.

Use Permit

Discretionary land use approvals issued by municipalities that allow construction on or uses of a specific parcel or structure of property, where such uses are not allowed as a matter of right or where such discretionary approvals are required by law.


United States Patent and Trademark Office, federal agency that, among other things, issues patents and trademark registrations. 


Vape Cartridge

Cartridge inserted into an electronic cigarette or similar device that contains cannabis oil or other liquids for vaporization and inhalation.


Process of inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates using an electronic cigarette or similar device.

Vertical Integration

Business structure where more than one, or all, stages of production of products (such as cultivation, manufacturing, and retail sales) are owned or operated by one company or commonly owned or operated companies. Certain states restrict or mandate vertical integration for cannabis companies.

Voter Initiatives

Also referred to as ballot initiatives or propositions, citizen tools to repeal or amend an existing law or create a new law or constitutional provision. Voter initiatives are voted on after initial sponsors receive certain thresholds of signatures from registered voters within a jurisdiction.


War on Drugs

Domestic and international campaign led by the United States government, in coordination with state, local, and international agencies, to stop the cultivation, import, distribution, and use of illegal drugs.

Warning Letter

Correspondence from a government agency notifying the recipient that it has violated a law, regulation, or permit condition and demanding that the recipient rectify or correct the violation.

Williams Memo

Memorandum issued on May 18, 2018 by U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams of the District of Oregon, titled “Priorities in Enforcement of Federal Laws Involving Marijuana in the District of Oregon.” Enumerated five federal enforcement priorities in the District of Oregon, include overproduction, protecting children, violence, organized crime and protecting natural resources.


Crimes that may be treated and punished as either felonies or misdemeanors depending on the circumstances of the underlying act.



Municipal laws that identify permitted uses for areas of property within the municipality, such as residential, industrial, commercial, and hybrid zones.