Local police have been told to exercise common sense when enforcing a law regulating cannabis, following the arrest on Sunday of two women in Khon Kaen who were caught growing one cannabis plant as a herbal drug at home.
Police took flak for their action, resulting in Pol Lt Gen Yanyong Wet-osot, commissioner of the Provincial Police Region 4, telling police in the region to avoid enforcing the law too vigorously against people who grow and use cannabis for medical reasons.
"Even if they are found to lack permission to grow any cannabis plant, a suspect should instead be given a warning and told why it is illegal for them to possess the plant," said Pol Maj Gen Phaisan Luesombun, a spokesman for the regional police office, citing Pol Lt Gen Yanyong's order.
The spokesman said that since the law is intended as a tool to suppress the use of cannabis as a narcotic drug, those who do not intend to use the plant for that purpose should instead be warned rather than face immediate legal action.
Following the arrests last weekend, Pol Col Direkrit Panrueansaen, chief of Ubonrat police in Khon Kaen, visited the women at their homes and explained the situation to them and their family, said Pol Maj Gen Phaisan.
On Sunday, police investigators at Ubonrat station detained Nang Mahasena, 72, and Bunseng Singhoen, 48, after discovering they were each growing one cannabis plant at home.
They were charged with possession of a Type 5 narcotic (marijuana) without permission before being released on bail.