Thailand to track cannabis users in government database

Thai nationals will soon be required to show their ID cards when purchasing cannabis flowers. The ID and sales information will be entered into a government database, according to the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM).

Registered vendors will be required to insert the buyers’ ID into a “device” linked with the government system and input information regarding the amount of cannabis purchased.

Any vendors who fail to submit reports will have their license revoked, according to the department’s director-general Dr Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong.

The measure will come into effect once it is published in the Royal Gazette.

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It’s not yet clear whether foreigners will have to show their ID or passports when purchasing marijuana flowers.

Last week, the Ministry of Public Health published a guide for foreign tourists titled “10 Things Tourists Need To Know About Cannabis in Thailand” to help tourists navigate Thailand’s crazy weed laws and stay out of trouble. The guide did not mention anything about foreigners being required to show ID to purchase cannabis buds.

Public health officials have repeatedly stressed that Thailand’s decriminalisation of the plant on June 9, 2022, was intended to promote its medical use and create economic opportunities for the Thai people.

But it’s hard to believe that health officials are surprised at the explosion of recreational use of cannabis in Thailand with hardly any legislation implemented to regulate its use.

Some laws are in place to limit misuse of the former Category 5 narcotic, such as the rule that cannabis cannot be sold to anyone under 20 years old, pregnant or breastfeeding women.

Cannabis is considered a “controlled herb” in Thailand with restrictions. Advertising the sale of cannabis flowers is prohibited and cannabis cannot be sold through online channels or vending machines.

So far, over 7,000 shops have sought permission to sell marijuana flowers. Last month, the Ministry of Public Health said it would allow cannabis buds to be sold by more than 5,000 licensed vendors nationwide.

Data regarding vendors and buyers would be sent to the International Narcotics Control Board in an effort to regulate cannabis use, said the ministry.

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Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.

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