Authorities in Phuket have taken action against thirteen cannabis dispensaries operating without a license, in a move to ensure compliance with the newly established legal framework for cannabis in Thailand. The province’s Public Health Office confirmed the closure of these establishments, which were found to violate the Thai Traditional Medical Professions Act. This enforcement action highlights the commitment of the government to regulate the cannabis industry effectively.
Phuket, known for its vibrant tourism industry, has seen a surge in cannabis-related businesses since the legalization of cannabis in Thailand in June 2022. According to the chief physician of the Public Health Office, Dr. Kusak Kukiattikoon, there are currently 1,701 registered cannabis-related businesses on the island, with 1,451 of them being dispensaries. The majority of these dispensaries, 502 in total, are located in the Kathu district.
To ensure compliance with regulations, the province’s Public Health Office, along with local administrative offices, conducts regular, random inspections of these establishments. By doing so, they aim to encourage businesses to familiarize themselves with the laws and operating requirements related to cannabis. Any dispensary found to be in violation of the rules will have its license suspended for 30 days. However, repeated violations could lead to the permanent revocation of the license.
While the focus is on enforcing the legal requirements, it is essential to maintain a balanced perspective on cannabis legalization. The legalization of cannabis has presented numerous economic opportunities, job creation, and potential medicinal benefits. It is crucial to create an environment that supports responsible businesses and allows for safe access to cannabis products.
In a related incident, the police arrested a foreign individual, identified as Angkhan, a 55-year-old US citizen, who promoted his dispensary in the US through a video shared online. The video depicted him smoking cannabis along Soi Bangla in tambon Patong. The arresting officers issued a warning to Angkhan, who expressed remorse for his actions and left the island the following day. This incident serves as a reminder that while cannabis is legal in Thailand, it is imperative to adhere to the specific guidelines and not engage in activities that may jeopardize legal compliance or public safety.
The closure of unlicensed dispensaries in Phuket demonstrates the government’s commitment to ensuring a regulated and responsible cannabis industry. By enforcing licensing requirements and conducting regular inspections, authorities aim to create a secure framework for the legalization of cannabis. It is important for businesses and individuals to understand their obligations and contribute to the responsible growth of the cannabis sector in Thailand.