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Bangkok Cracks Down on Cannabis Vendors, 6 Arrested



Bangkok Cracks Down on Cannabis Vendors, 6 Arrested, Top 4 Weed Strains

Police arrested six people for allegedly selling weed (cannabis) and allowing customers to light-up inside shops on Bangkok’s Khao San Road without permission.

They were apprehended during a police and health inspection along a road in Phra Nakhon district on Friday night, said the Director-General Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine.

According to Dr. Thongchai, the inspection was conducted to identify those who violated Public Health Ministry regulations regarding cannabis control. He said that among the six arrested were two street vendors who allegedly distributed cannabis buds without permission.

He said two others were allegedly found violating the cannabis license and operating in a restricted area, and that items were seized and taken to a local police station in Bangkok.

The fifth individual was discovered to have allegedly allowed customers to smoke weed (cannabis) inside a shop, while the sixth allegedly provided a weed smoking room at a different, unlicensed location.

Authorities initially halted operations while they reviewed the license details.

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Cannabis violators given bail

All suspects were taken to the police station for legal action, where they were charged and surety bail was set at 10,000 baht each. The police said they would request bail from the court.

Dr. Thongchai stated that the DTAM has been inspecting shops and entertainment venues along Khao San Road and Soi Thong Lor in Bangkok since last month to educate vendors about cannabis regulations.

Pot-smoking shops are now illegal after the Ministry of Public Health declared marijuana plant flowers to be a herb requiring strict control, the ministry warned.

According to Dr. Thongchai the controlled herb regulation was announced in the Royal Gazette on Nov 22 and went into effect the following day. The announcement is primarily intended to reduce recreational cannabis use, which has increased since its decriminalization.

The announcement came as the coalition Bhumjaithai Party continues to push for the passage of a cannabis and hemp bill, which it has billed as an effective legal mechanism to ensure that cannabis is only used for medical purposes.

Aside from prohibiting businesses from providing cannabis smoking areas to their customers, the new ministerial announcement also prohibits selling cannabis to people under the age of 20, pregnant women and mothers breastfeeding babies, and students at all levels of education, he said.

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Crackdown on Weed smoking

The same announcement forbids the sale of cannabis through vending machines, electronic means, or internet-based channels, according to Dr. Thongchai.

“Smoking cannabis in public is also strictly prohibited, including in a temple or any other religious place, a registered dormitory, a public park, a zoo, or an amusement park,” he added.

Because cannabis plant flowers are now considered controlled herbal products, they can only be sold legally by people who have a proper license, such as medical doctors, veterinarians, and practitioners of Thai traditional medicine, applied Thai medicine, folk medicine, and Chinese traditional medicine, he said.

These professionals and practitioners must also strictly adhere to the 1999 Act on the Protection and Promotion of Thai Traditional Medicine Wisdom, or face up to a year in prison and/or a fine of up to 20,000 baht, he said.

The DTTAM’s deputy director-general, Dr Tewan Thaneerat, stated that the department has recently established a depot for storing marijuana grown locally and harvested for supply to producers of cannabis products for medical use, such as cannabis oil extracts.

According to him, the depot has so far stored 3.5 tons of cannabis collected from 93 registered growing sites.

These materials, worth a total of Bt22.18 million, will be tested first to determine their quality, particularly in terms of contamination with insecticides, pesticides, heavy metals, and microbes, he said.

Source: Bangkok Post

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