Daycha won't face weed rap, says ONCB
Founder still has time to seek amnesty
The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) has confirmed the founder of the Khaokwan Foundation, where marijuana was seized during an anti-drug raid last week, will not be charged as he still has time to seek amnesty during a 90-day window.
Foundation president and founder, Daycha Siripatra, who was abroad when the raid took place on April 3, on Thursday turned up at the ONCB to protest his innocence.
He arrived together with foundation employee Pornchai Choolert, who was arrested during the raid, Biothai Foundation director Withoon Lienchamroon as well as the legal teams and representatives from the Sustainable Agriculture Foundation and Foundation for Consumers.
They met Niyom Termsrisuk, secretary-general of the ONCB, for talks. Speaking afterwards, Mr Niyom said the ONCB and the foundation may have interpreted the law differently.
The ONCB, he said, is aware of the 90-day amnesty period for marijuana possession but fears some people may exploit it by smuggling large amounts of the drug, claiming it would be submitted for the amnesty if caught. "Ganja [marijuana] therefore might be found everywhere because of this," said Mr Niyom.
He added that the ONCB would not interfere with the foundation's move to seek an amnesty, adding: "We will allow Mr Daycha to proceed with the process."
Regarding the marijuana seized from the foundation, Mr Niyom said officers are examining it. "However, no charges will be filed against Mr Daycha," said Mr Niyom.
The ONCB chief, however, called on ordinary people who are in possession of marijuana, certified by doctors, to declare their ownership with the Food and Drug Administration within the amnesty period, or else they would be breaking the law, he said. The amnesty expires on May 19.
Mr Daycha said the ONCB understands he cultivated marijuana for the benefit of patients with medical conditions.
He said authorities should look to how marijuana can be capitalised upon in the future, adding he must find a way to be registered as a traditional medical practitioner to be able to seek an amnesty during the period.
Mr Daycha also urged the government to consider invoking Section 44 to remove marijuana from the narcotics list. "I want to thank the ONCB for not pressing any charges against me. From now on, any actions by both sides will proceed openly for the sake of scrutiny," said Mr Daycha.
Rosana Tositrakul, a representative from the Thai Holistic Health Foundation, said more than 10 people, including villagers, kamnan, village headmen and representatives from district health promotion hospitals, would sign to vouch for Mr Daycha's ability as a traditional medical practitioner. Mr Daycha therefore would be able to formally be registered as a practitioner so as to seek an amnesty for marijuana cultivation.