Anutin responds to photo of cannabis smoking kids on Pattaya Beach

PHOTO: Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul responded to photos of 10 year olds smoking cannabis on Pattaya Beach. (via Facebook)

Minister of Public Health Anutin Charnvirakul has responded after photos of a group of 10 year olds smoking cannabis from a bamboo bong on Pattaya Beach went viral on social media. The legalisation of cannabis came with very little regulation, but a prohibition on sales or consumption by anyone under 20 years old was put in place almost immediately.

Anutin has been a very vocal supporter of decriminalised cannabis but he expressed concern over the viral photos. He suggested that local law enforcement should step up their enforcement of marijuana law. But, he did also hint that he suspected the photo was not genuine, but rather a choreographed picture designed to spark outrage and perhaps anti-cannabis sentiment.

The man who posted the photos came across the children smoking cannabis when he was on his way to watch a fireworks display in Pattaya. He thought the children were just playing, sitting on the wall at the beach, but as he approached he realised the boys were smoking marijuana from a bamboo bong.

It was posted on November 26 on Facebook and went viral over the next few days. Many commenters on social media decried the lack of both parental and police oversight that would allow young children to sit on the street smoking pot.

Meanwhile, Pattaya City municipal officer tracked down one of the cannabis-smoking boys in the photo, according to Bangkok Post. The cantankerous 10 year old reportedly swore at local officers, behaving rudely after they found him napping under a coconut tree just 100 metres from where the now-infamous photo was taken.

It was reported he had been a resident at Pattaya’s Children and Families Shelter before fleeing to his grandmother’s house in Bang Lamung. But he fought with her, allegedly stabbing her with a knife and then running away. Officers took him into custody and brought him in for a full health examination.

Members of Parliament told a press briefing that they’re unsure when they will get a cannabis control law finally passed, saying that it takes time to write, review, and revise draft proposals. Deputy Prime Minister Anutin still sticks to his assertion that the huge flood of recreational cannabis use with neither expected nor intended. The cannabis bill is aimed solely at helping the economy and society by allowing the use of medicinal cannabis.

Cannabis NewsPattaya News

Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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