Officials from the Ministry of Public Health teamed up with police to arrest six vendors in the Thong Lor area of Watthana district for allegedly selling cannabis buds and flowers without permission.
Dr Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, chief of the Department of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine (DTAM), said the raid was conducted on Tuesday night along Thong Lor road by the health authorities and police from Thong Lor station.
The inspection team found that five owners of food trucks and one shop owner sold cannabis buds without a licence. Three of the food trucks even had a fake permit because a licence is issued to shops with permanent addresses only.
The police confiscated the illegal products and the food trucks and shut down the shop. All suspects were taken to Thong Lor station for legal action, where they were charged and given surety bail of 20,000 baht each.
The operation was conducted in the wake of a raid on night entertainment venues on Khao San Road last month when six people were arrested for selling cannabis and allowing customers to smoke inside their shops.
Dr Thongchai said the operation was the ministry's attempt to control cannabis use in line with the law.
Under the latest ministerial regulation, cannabis buds and flowers are listed as controlled herbs, and permission is required for the use of the buds due to their high level of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content, which can be addictive.
Dr Thongchai said the department wanted to send a clear message that the use or trade of cannabis buds without authorisation is illegal.
He insisted cannabis remains useful when taken in the correct way, adding the ministry does not intend to take legal action against any business operators. However, it is crucial to promote a better understanding of cannabis use so that all business is conducted in line with the law, he said. It was important to establish social norms in terms of how to use cannabis properly.