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Royal Thai Police baffled by pot memo

BANGKOK: The Ministry of Public Health recalled an urgent letter shortly after it was sent to the Royal Thai Police (RTP) asking them to take legal action against those who failed to seek permits related to the use of cannabis.

By Bangkok Post

Thursday 28 July 2022, 09:57AM

Cannabis plants are grown at a community enterprise in Phuket Town. Photo: PR Phuket

Cannabis plants are grown at a community enterprise in Phuket Town. Photo: PR Phuket

The recall was apparently prompted by the RTP’s reaction.

In the letter to the national police chief, deputy permanent secretary for Public Health Narong Saiwong said cannabis has been listed as a controlled herb under the Traditional Medicine Wisdom Protection and Promotion Act.

The plant was put on the list of controlled herbs in mid-June after it was removed from the country’s narcotics list on June 9 to control its use. However, a more detailed law on cannabis and hemp is still pending.

As a result, its usage is being regulated under Section 46 of the act, and police and officials are authorised to take legal action against four groups who fail to seek permits. They comprise those who carry out research studies on cannabis, export cannabis, distribute the plant or process it for commercial purposes.

However, RTP spokesman Pol Maj Gen Yingyot Thepjamnong said there are certain issues the RTP has to clarify with the Ministry of Public Health in regard to the letter.

He said the national police chief found contradictions that must be addressed.

“To prevent public confusion and ensure effective enforcement, the national police chief has asked the RTP’s Law and Litigation Office to straighten some issues out with the ministry,” Maj Gen Yingyot said.

Yongyot Thammawut, director-general of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine, said a sub-committee agreed the list of controlled herbs should be revised to cover only cannabis flowers.

He said if the whole plant is listed as a controlled herb, cannabis growers and those who use other parts such as leaves, roots or stems will be affected. After the list is revised, it will be submitted to the minister for endorsement.

“For the time being, authorities will resort to warnings rather than making arrests… unless the plant is sold for smoking.

“The ministry has made clear its stance on the recreational use of cannabis. Medicinal cannabis will proceed and misuse must be prevented,” he said.

According to the ministry, permits must be sought in line with its 2016 directive on the research, import, distribution or possession of controlled herbs for commercial purposes.

Mr Yongyot and chiefs of provincial health offices are in charge of processing permits.

Before the letter was recalled, Senator Kamnoon Sidhisamarn welcomed the Ministry of Public Health’s action, saying it should have sent the letter to the RTP earlier.

He wrote on Facebook that most activities related to the use of cannabis are illegal unless they are permitted under Section 46 of the act.

Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul reiterated on Wednesday that the draft law being examined by the House does not permit recreational use of the plant.

He said the letter involves the use of cannabis flowers and insisted that drying cannabis flowers for smoking is illegal, not to mention that it is against the excise regulations on cigarettes.

“Selling cannabis flowers requires a permit and it is impossible for us to grant permits for smoking. Don’t make people devalue cannabis.

“What would happen to those using cannabis for treatment, or those investing in a business, if the delisting was cancelled?”

Mr Anutin said Tom Kruesopon, who founded the Golden Triangle Group, a leading developer and manufacturer of hemp and cannabis in Thailand, will face the music if he has violated any laws.

He was responding to criticism that he has ties to the businessman.

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Kurt | 28 July 2022 - 21:09:07

....At end of the earning money earning route a fine pot puff and going law wise  baffled but in happy mood home to mama after duty.

Kurt | 28 July 2022 - 21:05:45

@christysweet, the Thai authorities couldn't hold their financial horses discovering what enormous amount of the POT money cake will flow to them, ahead of proper law making. Now the poor RTP is baffled, feels left behind in the 'cake sharing'. So, they fill out their own pot explanation. And were to start on Phuket? Bangla Rd!!  Add/intergrade pot fee with bar closing time fee. At end...

Prab | 28 July 2022 - 12:07:16

in patong everyone just smoking under the sun, walk about and you smell it everywhere... recreational use here is already legal.. happy days in the freedom land 

christysweet | 28 July 2022 - 11:10:23

The fact is clear- recreational usage, i.e.  smoking- is a violation of the law as is distributing  it via facebook, beach raggae bar or unpermitted  cafe stye shops.  Most medicinal usage of pot requires a doctor's prescription- what does the current law say about that? 

christysweet | 28 July 2022 - 10:47:49

Local shop owner  overcharges  x 10, then police warn  and get pocket cash , and upon arrest the fine goes to the chief. Pure brilliance on how to invigorate an ailing economy in an ecologically friendly way. I am impressesd.


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