Police check for imaginary weed-sales licenses in Pattaya

Police officers inspect the ‘ganja’ stand on Walking Street for licenses, the stall keeper left to fetch the owner but neither came back.

Chonburi police tried to check licenses of cannabis stalls on Walking Street, even though no such licenses exist.
Pol. Col. Jakkaphan Kittisiribhonkul, deputy commander of Chonburi police, led officers to Walking Street Dec. 21 to inspect the ad-hoc weed shops.

Stopping at one unnamed booth, Jakkaphan asked to see the shop’s license. The clerk – confused since Thailand hasn’t passed any laws to regulate the sale of marijuana and, hence, has issued no licenses – left to the get the owner. Unsurprisingly, neither the clerk nor the owner ever returned.

Thailand decriminalized cannabis in June before passing any supporting laws. Since then, the Public Health Ministry has issued regulations barring sale to minors and pregnant women. The ministry’s traditional medicine department also has issued certificates for medical marijuana sales, but those are not business permits.

In a knee-jerk reaction to the explosion of marijuana sales outlets, the ministry earlier instructed police to arrest and fine those selling weed for recreational purposes. The Royal Thai Police Office refused, as there are no legal grounds to do so.

So it’s unclear what Chonburi police actually were doing.

Police confiscated the entire stock of unlicensed marijuana from a vending stall on Walking Street after the stall keeper abandoned it to avoid confrontation with the law.