Calls grow to ban weed shops near schools

Calls grow to ban weed shops near schools

Dispensaries soar amid lack of clear regulation

Thongchai: Shops not breaking any law
Thongchai: Shops not breaking any law

Operating cannabis shops near schools is permitted as a specific law has yet to be issued to control the locations of such establishments, according to the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM).

DTAM director-general Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, however, said the Public Health Ministry had issued a ministerial announcement prohibiting the distribution of the plant to anyone under 20.

Failure to comply could see cannabis vendors face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to 20,000 baht, and their licence may also be revoked for two years.

His remarks were made in response to reports on Friday that a weed cafe had been open for six months near the well-known all-girls St Joseph Convent School.

Subsequently, former politician and staunch critic of cannabis legalisation Chuvit Kamolvisit urged the new government to relist cannabis as a narcotic amid online criticism of the shop’s location.

The draft Cannabis-Hemp Act is still pending in parliament. However, there is still no regulation on the proximity of cannabis dispensaries to educational institutes, according to Dr Thongchai.

Up until now, more than 12,000 businesses have submitted applications to distribute, process, export or research cannabis in 76 provinces.

Of the figure, 2,000 applications were made in Bangkok alone, yet only 100 of the operators have been regularly submitting reports of their cannabis sources, storage facilities and distribution networks.

The department, therefore, is urging authorities to tighten law enforcement and intensify checks on the use of cannabis flower for commercial purposes, he said.

The department will work with police and administrative officials to enforce laws strictly against violators, and their licence may be suspended or revoked, followed by legal action for repeated offences.