Thirteen cannabis dispensaries in Phuket have been shut down by authorities after they were found to be operating without a licence, according to the province's Public Health Office yesterday.
According to the office's chief physician, Kusak Kukiattikoon, there are 1,701 registered cannabis-related businesses on the island, of which 1,451 are dispensaries. Out of the 1,451 shops, 502 are located in Kathu district, 222 in Thalang district, while the rest are located in Muang Phuket district.
To date, he said, the office has revoked the licences of 250 shops over various violations of the Thai Traditional Medical Professions Act.
To ensure these businesses comply with the law, Dr Kusak said officials from the province's Public Health Office and local administrative offices carry out weekly, random inspections.
Local officials have also been told to help businesses familiarise themselves with cannabis-related laws and operating requirements, he said.
A dispensary which violates the rules will have its licence suspended for 30 days, but repeat violations will result in the revocation of said licence, Dr Kusak warned, adding those who sell cannabis without a licence face up to a year in prison and/or a 20,000-baht fine.
In related news, police have arrested a foreigner who uploaded a video online of himself promoting his dispensary in the US while pumping cannabis smoke along Soi Bangla in tambon Patong on Friday, said Pol Col Sujit Ninbodi, Patong Police Station superintendent.
The man was identified only as Angkhan, 55, a US citizen. Police gave him a warning. The police said he expressed regret for his actions, saying he did not realise what he did was against the law. He left the island on Saturday.