(CTN News) – Health officials in Phuket have initiated a campaign to regulate the burgeoning cannabis industry on the island. Weekly random inspections of cannabis shops and venues are set to ensure adherence to legal guidelines.
These inspections aim to prevent public nuisance caused by the odor and smoke from cannabis consumption and to uphold the established regulations.
Regulating Cannabis Shop Inspections in Phuket:
The Chief of Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO), Dr. Kusak Kukkiattikoon, has announced the implementation of weekly random inspections for cannabis shops and venues.
The primary focus is to ensure licensed vendors advise their customers against smoking in ways that create unpleasant odors and smoke, which could inconvenience the public.
While cannabis has been legalized in Phuket, regulation remains needed to manage the potential negative impacts. The odor and smoke from public cannabis consumption can be considered a public nuisance and subject to fines of up to 20,000 baht. Notably, even smoking within cannabis shops is prohibited under the current regulations.
Phuket currently hosts 1,451 licensed cannabis businesses, which are spread across various districts. The inspections are a collaborative effort involving multiple entities, including the Ministry of Public Health, Consumer Protection Office, District Public Health Office, local government bodies, police, and administrative organizations.
Dr. Kusak emphasized that violators of the regulations could face significant legal consequences, including suspension or withdrawal of their distribution licenses. Fines of up to 20,000 baht, imprisonment for up to a year, or both are possible penalties. Instances of operating without a license have already led to prosecutions.
Social Media and Evidence in the Cannabis Industry:
Authorities are prepared to use evidence from social media to enforce the regulations. Licenses can be temporarily suspended for 30 days and revoked for persistent violations. Dr. Kusak underscored the importance of adhering to regulations, whether incidents are witnessed directly or reported later.
Venues that allow smoking on their premises without proper authorization have been ordered to cease operations temporarily.
Cannabis-based offerings must be indicated on restaurant menus, and safe consumption guidance is required to pass inspections. Local authorities also need Official permission or certification to operate as food vendors.
Failure to acquire the necessary licenses and certifications could lead to severe consequences. This includes potential imprisonment for up to six months and fines of up to 50,000 baht for operating without the required certification.
Establishments failing to comply with cannabis consumption guidelines could face penalties of up to three months imprisonment or fines of up to 25,000 baht.