CMS updates Expert Guide on cannabis law and legislation


CMS Expert Guide on cannabis law and legislation gives stakeholders detailed and updated information on the latest developments in cannabis regulation in key markets. The Guide now covers two new jurisdictions: Laos and Thailand. In Laos, certain hemp-related products may only be distributed and used under a medical prescription while Thailand delisted cannabis and hemp plants and their unprocessed parts from the Narcotics Act in June 2022. Furthermore, CBD extract with less than 0.2% THC by weight that has been extracted from cannabis or hemp cultivated in Thailand is no longer classified as a narcotic. Thailand has become the first country in Asia to permit the growth, sale and use of the plant for both medical and other permitted purposes.

Several other developments that occurred between 2022 of and the beginning of 2023 have been included.

In June 2022, Brazil approved the importation of plant derivatives of cannabis, which can be purified and used to obtain pharmaceutical grade CBD within Brazilian national territory and only for use in the formulation of cannabis products. With this decision, importation is no longer restricted to Ingredient Active Pharmaceutical (IFA), as it was previously. 

Interesting developments have taken place in Switzerland where on 1 August 2022 the Swiss Federal Narcotics Act was amended to allow the use of cannabis for medical purposes. The amended narcotics law allows cannabis to be cultivated, processed, traded, or imported for medical purposes. The use of cannabis as a medicinal product, however, requires marketing authorisation and to do business with cannabis in Switzerland, an operating licence must be obtained from the competent Swiss authorities. The cultivation of cannabis for medical use also requires a license from the competent authorities. The use of cannabis that contains only CBD or THC with an average total content of less than 1.0% does not require an operating licence. Such products, including pastes and oils containing CBD, are not subject to the Narcotics Act. The cultivation of cannabis is prohibited unless certified seeds of the varieties on the European variety list are used. The industrial use of varieties authorised in the European Union are also authorised in Switzerland. The same applies for varieties with an average total THC content of less than 1.0%.

The following three developments were recently introduced in Ukraine, Austria and Peru.

In Ukraine, in February 2023, the Parliamentarian Healthcare Committee recommended numerous revisions to Draft Law #7457 including:

  • increasing the THC content in industrial hemp to 0.3% and deregulating the lab testing of THC content in industrial hemp; and 
  • excluding industrial hemp from the strict regulation of narcotics legislation.

In Austria in March 2023, the Ministry of Health classified Hexahydrocannabinol (HHC) as a New Psychoactive Substance. HHC naturally occurs in the cannabis plant and is considered a psychoactive cannabinoid. By classifying HHC as a New Psychoactive Substance, any production, sale and distribution of HHC are prohibited.

In Peru, a new cannabis regulation will be effective 1 September 2023, which states that the definition of “Cannabis” must include both psychoactive cannabis (THC equal to or more than 1% in dry weight) and non-psychoactive cannabis (THC less than 1% in dry weight). The general definition of cannabis in this regulation, however, excludes seeds and leaves without flowering tops. The distinction between psychoactive cannabis products or derivates and non-psychoactive ones will include different sale and importation regimes. Moreover, the New Cannabis Regulation will require licences for the artisanal growing of cannabis, which will be granted in favour of associations of patients who are duly registered and certified.

Please view the CMS Expert Guide here.