Cannabis shops near schools allowed amid lack of specific law

Photo Courtesy of Bangkok Post

Cannabis dispensaries are currently allowed to operate near schools in Thailand, as there is no specific legislation controlling their locations, according to the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM). However, the Public Health Ministry has prohibited the sale of cannabis to individuals under 20 years old, with penalties including a one-year prison sentence, a fine of up to 20,000 baht, and a two-year license revocation for non-compliance.

DTAM director-general Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong’s comments come in response to reports of a cannabis cafe operating for six months near the well-known St Joseph Convent School. This has led to former politician and cannabis legalisation critic Chuwit Kamolvisit calling for the government to reclassify cannabis as a narcotic, reported Bangkok Post.

The draft Cannabis-Hemp Act is still awaiting parliamentary approval, and there is no regulation on the proximity of cannabis dispensaries to educational institutions, according to Thongchai.

Over 12,000 businesses have applied to distribute, process, export, or research cannabis in 76 provinces. However, only 100 operators have consistently submitted reports on their cannabis sources, storage facilities, and distribution networks.

Thongchai urged authorities to strengthen law enforcement and increase checks on the commercial use of cannabis flowers. The department plans to collaborate with police and administrative officials to strictly enforce laws against violators, with potential license suspension or revocation and legal action for repeated offences.

Meanwhile, former politician Chuwit has been at the forefront of several anti-cannabis rallies recently. Last week he led a team to file a complaint after being threatened by a group of men with guns during an anti-cannabis rally in Bangkok. The 61 year old claimed that some wore logo shirts of the Thai Pride Party (Bhumjaithai Party), with live broadcast footage as evidence.

Chuwit led his team to file a complaint at Phaya Thai Police Station after being threatened by a group of men dressed in navy blue shirts during the rally near Sanam Pao.

Chuwit revealed that while he was riding a motorcycle leading the procession, a group of men in navy blue shirts appeared, some of them wearing shirts with the Thai Pride Party logo. These individuals allegedly obstructed and attempted to prevent Chuwit’s vehicle from leaving the vicinity. Read more about the story, here.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.