Cannabis regulation back on agenda as outlets soar
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Cannabis regulation back on agenda as outlets soar

Tourism operators said the regulation of cannabis and hemp usage should be finished within one year following a fivefold increase in new cannabis shops operating in the Khao San Road area since last year.

After Bhumjaithai Party joined the government setup, there is now a clearer path for cannabis and hemprelated businesses.

However, as the government removed the plant from the prohibited narcotic list last year, but still left a loophole due to insufficient regulations, many people have expressed concern over this issue as there were news reports regarding consumption by children and tourists admitted to hospitals.

Sanga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Business Association, said he believed the government will urgently establish a new commission to consider the cannabis regulation within one year.

At present, many operators have already invested in this business, while the products are also in high demand among foreign tourists.

Mr Sanga said there are an estimated 40-50 cannabis shops operating in the Khao San Road area, up from about 10 shops a year ago, with 90% of customers being foreigners.

“This product might not significantly boost tourism, but it created a unique selling point for Thailand, as we are the first country in Asia to decriminalise cannabis,” he said.

Therefore, he said the new regulation would implement a stricter requirement for licensing. For instance, asking owners to specify the original source of the plants to prevent illegal imports and ensure quality products.

He said it is undeniable that foreigners visited the shops to purchase cannabis for smoking.

Mr Sanga suggested the regulation should allow recreational purposes, in addition to medicinal purposes, but under a stricter rule, such as restricting smoking zones and prohibiting consumption in public areas, and not allowing shops to open near schools.

He added that sales of the products should also have daily limits based on a specific amount, he said.

Punlop Saejew, president of the Tourism Council of Chiang Mai, said the worries concerning cannabis consumption among children did not relate to licensed shops. He said the problem derived from underground operators who sold cannabis to children.

Mr Punlop said the government should implement a monitoring programme and ensure harsh punishments for those who provide cannabis to children and punish those who fail to look after their children properly.

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