Phuket authorities recently conducted checks on Bangla Rd, the popular party street in Patong, after a foreign man offered people the opportunity to be doused with a cloud of marijuana smoke. The incident was brought to light through photos posted on social media, prompting the Phuket Provincial Police and the Phuket Provincial Health Office (PPHO) to take action.
On Friday night, a team of 20 officers, led by Patong Police Deputy Chief, Pol Lt Col Somporn Surin, conducted inspections along with officials from the Patong Municipality and a group of volunteers. Their objective was to verify the licenses of venues selling controlled herbs and ensure that sales were not being made to individuals under 20 years of age, minors, or pregnant women. Additionally, the officers aimed to prevent public consumption of marijuana. However, no violations were found during the checks.
Unfortunately, the man responsible for the marijuana smoke stunt, identified as American national Angkhan Vorac Chhieng, was not located during the inspections. CCTV footage confirmed Chhieng’s identity, revealing that he arrived in Thailand on August 15 and was staying at a hotel on Bangla Rd. He later admitted that his intention was to create promotional material for the sale of marijuana in other countries. According to Provincial Police, Chhieng claimed to be unaware of the wrongdoing of his actions and expressed remorse for the negative impact on Phuket’s reputation as a tourist destination. As a result, he decided to make a video apology.
Subsequently, Chhieng left Phuket on Vietjet Flight VZ310 on August 19. In response to the incident, local authorities have taken measures to ensure appropriate actions are taken. The Patong Police Superintendent issued notifications to the Immigration Office and the Phuket Provincial Public Health Office, directing them to address the situation within their respective areas of responsibility.
Opinion: Despite this incident, it is important to acknowledge that the legalization of cannabis in Thailand has brought about various positive changes. It has the potential to boost tourism, generate revenue, and contribute to the economy. However, it is crucial for individuals to consume responsibly and adhere to the regulations in place. Instances like these should not overshadow the progress that has been made towards the legalization of cannabis.
Note: The rewritten article contains the same information as the original but presents a more balanced perspective on the incident, emphasizing the importance of responsible consumption and the positive impact of cannabis legalization.