Pupils in dope clip get reprimand
The government has reaffirmed it is illegal for students to smoke cannabis in schools and for vendors to sell cannabis to people aged under 20 years old, deputy government spokeswoman Traisuree Taisaranakul said on Wednesday.
Ms Traisuree said police and state agencies including the Education Ministry have taken action on the matter after a video clip on social media showing a handful of early teens smoking cannabis at a school went viral on Tuesday.
Despite the cannabis and hemp bill not being implemented yet, the government still has regulations to keep the use of cannabis in line with its policy for medical and commercial purposes, she said.
Currently, the government is urging everyone to comply with the regulations set by the Public Health Ministry that restrict vendors from distributing cannabis to children below 20 years old, pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers.
Any violators can face up to one year in jail and/or a fine of up to 20,000 baht under the Protection and Promotion of Traditional Thai Medicine Wisdom Act, she said.
In addition, the offence of smoking cannabis in public places is punishable with up to one month in jail and/or a fine of up to 2,000 baht for breaching the ministry's regulation regarding disturbing the peace by smoking cannabis or hemp, she said.
Ms Traisuree referred to the minors who smoked cannabis at the school in Si Sa Ket's Phrai Bueng district.
They admitted buying the cannabis leaves from a market, meaning both the minors and the vendor were in breach of regulations. Police issued them a verbal warning first, she said. She also insisted the government does not support the use of cannabis for recreational purposes.
The school director and teachers found out that two girls and three boys studying at Mattayom 2 level (Grade 8), aged 13-14 years old, had smoked cannabis in school.
A teacher said one of the boys bought fresh cannabis leaves for 40 baht from a market on Sept 20. The students learned how to smoke it from video clips on YouTube, said the teacher. The students were taught the pros and cons of the plant and punished in line with school rules, the teacher added.