Bhumjaithai opposes World Cannabis Day activities

Bhumjaithai opposes World Cannabis Day activities

Smoking in public is still illegal, says party that has championed cannabis liberalisation

People buy cannabis from a mobile stall on Khao San Road in June last year. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)
People buy cannabis from a mobile stall on Khao San Road in June last year. (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb)

The Bhumjaithai Party says it objects to any activities to mark World Cannabis Day on Thursday, warning that it is still illegal to smoke cannabis in public places.

Anyone planning activities should cancel them because smoking cannabis in public violates Section 74 of the Public Health Act, party registrar Supachai Jaisamut said on Wednesday.

Under the Act, marijuana smokers can be jailed for up to one month and/or fined up to 2,000 baht for creating a public nuisance.

Mr Supachai was responding to reports that activities including cannabis smoking were being planned in some locations including popular tourist hangouts on Khao San and Rambutri roads in Bangkok on Thursday.

The Bhumjaithai Party earlier successfully pushed for the decriminalisation of cannabis, saying it had great potential as an economic crop and for medicinal applications. But the removal of the plant from the national narcotics list, without a specific law to govern its use, has led to a free-for-all.

Recreational use has flourished, along with thousands of pot shops to meet demand. Passing a law to clarify what is and is not allowed will become a task for the next government, as legislators could not reach agreement before the House was dissolved in March

Mr Supachai said that for the time being cannabis is defined as a medicinal herb and its use must abide by applicable regulations, especially to prevent abuse and negative impacts on the public.

“The Bhumjaithai Party supports the use of cannabis for public health and Thailand must have a law to control cannabis use,” he said.

“The Khaosan420 event planned on April 20 does not comply with law and may affect the general public. The Bhumjaithai Party is asking the organisers to call off the event.”

420 refers to the 1971 legend that some American high-school students used to gather at 4.20pm, after the school day was over, to smoke marijuana. The use of 420 as a code for cannabis consumption became mainstream, and can also refer to April 20.

Sa-nga Ruangwattanakul, president of the Khao San Business Association, said business operators in the area knew nothing about the Khaosan420 event. In any case, he said the association would not allow the event to take place because it would be against the law.

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