Regulations around cannabis may be tightened if shops continued to circumvent rules to sell cannabis for recreational purposes.
Dr. Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, director general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine, held a press conference at the Ministry of Public Health today, November 29th, to clarify the doubts about the Public Health Ministry’s latest announcement.
Dr. Thongchai said the latest announcement still placed a strong emphasis on prohibiting people from using cannabis for recreational purposes and only supporting its medical use. However, cannabis sellers were allowed to distribute cannabis including its buds if they had proper licenses.
The Thai reporters then asked Dr. Thongchai what was his solution to certain nightspots that allowed customers to smoke cannabis inside the venues, to which he replied:
“Honestly, we could not entirely stop people from smoking cannabis, but we already had a regulation to prohibit venues from allowing customers to smoke cannabis because it could lead to problems such as traffic accidents.”
Dr. Thongchai added that medical personnel smoking cannabis in nightspots did not clarify as using cannabis for medical purposes because it was against the law that could lead to five years in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 baht.
When asked if it was alright if the shops had specific rooms for people to smoke cannabis, Dr. Thongchai answered the shops could be violating a regulation if it could be proven that the smoke from the cannabis caused a nuisance to others.
He also discouraged the shops from trying to circumvent the rules otherwise the authorities might have to tighten the rules.
Meanwhile, on the same day at the Parliament, the Cannabis Association for the People led by Chatpattavee Atthapornmetha submitted an open letter urging the lawmakers to amend the Cannabis and Hemp Bill that was still incomplete.
Chatpattavee said he disagreed with the idea of re-criminalizing cannabis because it would drive cannabis underground again, which was even harder to control.
Acording to Chatpattavee, lawmakers should instead amend the bill to allow cannabis for recreational use while having strict laws that could effectively prevent young people from smoking cannabis.
He also said the authorities should not ban smoking cannabis in shops or cafes because it would drive people to smoke in public areas. Instead, Chatpattavee advised that people should be allowed to smoke in enclosed areas within the shops or cafes.
Chatpattavee said he hoped the bill that would enter the parliamentary deliberation next week would be properly revised beforehand to benefit people more.