Laws should not allow this, he says
Chuvit Kamolvisit, a former massage parlour mogul and staunch critic of cannabis legalisation, has urged the new government to relist cannabis as a narcotic amid concerns over weed sales near schools.
Chuvit, also a former politician, posted on Facebook that he had seen a cannabis dispensary, dubbed a “weed cafe”, operating in Silom district.
The dispensary is less than 50 metres from the well-known all-girls St Joseph Convent School, which has about 5,000 students.
Mr Chuvit stated many parents had expressed concern about the weed cafe’s proximity to their children’s school.
“Even convenience stores within a 500-metre radius of a school are prohibited from selling alcoholic drinks and cigarettes. Clubs and bars are now allowed to locate next to schools and universities. But [a cannabis dispensary] can open next to an all-girls school,” he wrote.
Mr Chuvit said the Pheu Thai Party and the Move Forward Party have proposed to relist cannabis as a narcotic drug to put an end to the legalisation of weed dispensaries and the issue of recreational weed use.
On Friday, reporters talked to food vendors near the school who said the dispensary has been open for under six months, with working hours from late morning to late at night. The vendors said that even though the students walk past the shop each day, they had not seen any entering it, with many assuming that the owner followed the law prohibiting cannabis sales to anyone under 20 years old.
A mother of two daughters attending the school said she was concerned about cannabis dispensaries opening nearby. She understood that they aim to attract foreign tourists but wished that public agencies would regulate weed cafes more strictly.
A Public Health Ministry source said the ministerial announcement states that weed dispensaries can locate near schools. However, it is against the law to sell weed products to people under 20 years old and pregnant women. A violation is punishable by imprisonment of less than one year and a 20,000-baht fine. The public health ministerial announcement also prohibits smoking weed in public, including schools.
Officials have visited the dispensary and found it only sells cannabis buds and extract oils. There are no cannabis-based food products available. The cafe has a licence under the Protection and Promotion of Thai Traditional Medical Knowledge Act.
The draft Cannabis-Hemp Act is still pending in parliament. However, there is no regulation on the proximity of cannabis dispensaries to educational institutes.