Two nabbed for bud sales without permit

Two people have been arrested in Bangkok’s Sukhumvit area for selling cannabis buds without the required permits, the police said yesterday.

The arrests followed an operation along Sukhumvit Soi 11 by officials from the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM) along with police officers from Lumpini police station on Wednesday evening.

The raid came after DTAM received numerous complaints about illegal sales of cannabis in the area, said DTAM chief Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, adding a street food vendor and a food truck operator were arrested after failing to produce the required permit to legally sell cannabis.

The food truck operator displayed a permit, but authorities immediately knew it was a counterfeit as such permits are only issued to businesses with a permanent address, he said.

Both suspects were taken to Lumpini police station where they were charged with selling cannabis without a permit, though they were eventually released after each posting 10,000-baht bail. Authorities also confiscated their products, as well as their food truck and food cart.

The team also shut down a dispensary on Sukhumvit Soi 11, which had a permit to sell but failed to display it as required by the Public Health Ministry.

The dispensary will be allowed to reopen once it complies with the rules, Dr Thongchai said.

The raid on Sukhumvit Soi 11 was the third such operation launched by the DTAM and the police. Last month, authorities arrested six people after raiding several bars on Khao San Road which sold cannabis without a permit and allowed their patrons to smoke on their premises.

Earlier this month, police arrested six vendors in Bangkok’s Thong Lor neighbourhood for selling cannabis without permission.

Dr Thongchai said the operation was part of the ministry’s attempt to control cannabis use in line with the latest ministerial regulation, which lists cannabis buds as a controlled herb.

Under current regulations, cannabis buds and products can only be sold to individuals over the age of 20. The law also bans the consumption of cannabis near schools, temples, zoos and other public spaces, as well as the online sales of cannabis.

Those found to be in violation of Thailand’s cannabis law will be fined up to 20,000 baht, face one year in prison, or both.

Meanwhile, Anutin Charnvirakul, Public Health Minister, said MPs should consider the public interest when they debate the Cannabis and Hemp Act.