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Thailand Cracks Down on Smoking Weed in Public Places

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Weed smoking shops are now illegal, according to the Ministry of Public Health, after a new announcement declaring marijuana buds to be a herb requiring strict control went into effect on Wednesday.

According to Dr. Thongchai Lertwilairatanapong, director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, the controlled herb announcement, dated November 11, was published in the Royal Gazette last Wednesday and went into effect the following day (DTTAM).

The announcement is primarily intended to reduce recreational cannabis use, which has increased since its decriminalization.

The announcement comes as the 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 cannabis is only used for medicinal purposes.

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Weed Smoking

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

The same announcement forbids cannabis sales through vending machines, electronic means, or internet-based channels, he added.

“Smoking cannabis in public is also strictly prohibited under the same announcement,” he said, “including in a temple or other religious venue, a registered dormitory, public parks, zoos, or amusement parks.”

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Weed Buds Sold by Licensed Practitioners

Since cannabis plant flowers have been designated as controlled herbal products, they can be sold legally, but only by certain types of practitioners who are properly licensed.

Medical doctors, veterinarians, and practitioners of Thai traditional medicine, applied Thai medicine, folk medicine, and Chinese traditional medicine would be included in this group, he said.

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

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

The depot has so far stored 3.5 tonnes of cannabis collected from 93 registered growing sites.

These materials, worth 22.18 million baht, will be tested first to determine their quality, particularly in terms of contamination with insecticides, pesticides, heavy metals, and microbes, according to Dr Tewan.

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