Drug bonfire set alight today fuelled with 40 tonnes of illicit narcotics

Illicit drugs, valued at about 25 billion baht, are set to go up in smoke over the next 2 days. The confiscated drugs, which have been stored in a Food and Drug Administration location, are going to be creating some interesting smoke fumes for people living downwind of the FDA’s Bang Pu industrial facility in Samut Prakan.

Some 40 tonnes of drugs, found in raids and confiscated from traffickers nabbed mid-delivery, are going to be set on fire today and tomorrow.

The exotic ingredients include 738 kilograms of heroin, 29 kilograms of opium, 4 kilograms of ecstasy, 23,365 kilograms of methamphetamine pills, and 14,482 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine. There’s also a range of other psychoactive substances that are going to get the torch over the next few days.

Representatives from the FDA, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, the Royal Thai Police, the main city Nonthaburi police station, the Department of Medical Sciences, the Office of Police Forensic Science, and the Royal Thai Army have all been involved in the inspections leading up to today’s big chemical bonfire.

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The high profile burn-off follows nearly a month of fuss over one of the former category 5 illicit drugs – cannabis (and its many herbal variants). Politicians, authorities, and police are now trying to reign in the confusion over the announcement to decriminalise cannabis in Thailand on June 9. There is currently a bill that will be debated in parliament which will codify the future laws around cannabis products. The delays between the initial announcement and the passing of laws have created a legal no-mans land.

Thai authorities have hastily issued a raft of new regulations for cannabis use since June 9 after the long-planned decriminalisation raised alarm at the potential for unchecked use of the substance anywhere and by anyone – including minors.

Cannabis enthusiasts have broadly interpreted the announcement to decriminalise cannabis to mean there was a complete 180 degree turnaround from Thailand’s earlier stance on the use of marijuana and cannabis, which would have made Thailand the only country in the region with such liberal laws on the use of cannabis products.

Schools, universities, private workplaces, public services, and industrial organisations have been forced to clarify their stance on the new situation. At the same time, hundreds of shops are springing up, especially around Bangkok, and even online, retailing cannabis and marijuana products, leaving police in a legislative twilight zone.

Meanwhile, the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration is rejecting calls from entrepreneurial business owners and vendors to turn Khao San Road into an Asian Amsterdam.

BMA authorities have pointed out that any new laws will be Thailand-wide, and not district-specific. They also pointed out that Khao San Road is amongst a broader community of schools and temples.

Deputy Bangkok governor Jakkapan Phiewngam told the Bangkok Post that Thailand’s “image may suffer if Khao San Road is turned into a cannabis hub in the absence of regulations that ensure all products sold are safe and of high quality”.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post | Reuters

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Tim Newton

Tim joined The Thaiger as one of its first employees in 2018 as an English news writer/editor and then began to present The Thaiger's Daily news show in 2020, Thailand News Today (or TNT for short). He has lived in Thailand since 2011, having relocated from Australia.