A viral video showing foreigners using a machine to blow cannabis smoke around Bangla Road has prompted checks on weed shops in the area. The Phuket Express reports that on Friday night, August 18, a number of officials descended on cannabis shops on Bangla Road.
The retail outlets have blossomed along the infamous walking street since the drug was declassified as an illegal Category 5 narcotic in June 2022. Despite the decriminalisation for ‘medicinal purposes only’, the retail of cannabis has burgeoned in tourist spots around the country in a legislative twilight zone. A ‘Cannabis Act’, to provide a framework for use, sales and commercialisation in the Kingdom failed to pass into law during six attempts during the last parliament.
Meanwhile, local authorities were checking for licences and potential rule violations as a result of the video. The checks were carried out by officials from the Kathu District Office, Patong Police and the district public health office. Officials issued reminders to all shops that the smoking of cannabis in the shops remains illegal.
According to the president of the Patong Entertainment Business Association, the video that sparked the checks was made by a group of foreigners promoting a new cannabis shop in the northern district of Thalang near Phuket Airport.
The Phuket Express reports that the police have been in touch with the shop’s owners and asked them to come to the police station to face various charges. According to Move Forward MP, Chalermpong Sangdee, the authorities want to ensure the rules surrounding cannabis use are being adhered to.
“Officials are trying to manage proper usage of cannabis especially when it comes to owners and dealers who are foreigners.”
Smoking cannabis in public or in shops remains illegal. The use of cannabis is also restricted to medicinal use, under a doctor’s supervision (although entrepreneurs have taken advantage of a lack of legislation to proliferate anyway).
Politicians, the medical community and academics continue to debate the law since the plant was decriminalised last year and the rules continue to be bent, making the whole issue as cloudy as whatever came out of that smoke machine.
SOURCE: The Phuket Express