The city of Bangkok has denied requests from business owners to transform Khao San Road into Thailand’s cannabis hub, citing the area’s proximity to schools, temples and various government offices.
Referring to the Maintenance of Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country Act (1997), Deputy Bangkok Governor Jakkapan Phiewngam said the sale of cannabis-based products in the well-known tourist spot is unlikely to be approved in the near future.
Currently, vendors and stall owners who wish to sell cannabis-based products must register them with their respective district offices. Products that have been registered with authorities cannot be altered without the permission of the district office.
Jakkapan reminded the public that it is still illegal to sell cannabis-infused food and beverages in public, adding that the city’s law enforcement agencies have been tasked with searching all districts in the capital for such products, particularly near schools.
Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt also made clear his concern regarding the promotion of cannabis in the capital, stating that viral videos depicting vendors openly conducting sales could ultimately harm the city’s reputation. He also urged relevant agencies to issue more public service announcements discouraging cannabis use for recreational purposes.
To mitigate the potential negative effects of cannabis on society, Sanga Ruengwattanakul, president of the Khao San Road Businesses Association, suggested that the government should instead push for ID verification at points of sale to prevent sales to minors and require vendors and shop owners to set aside space for consumption, as smoking in public is still prohibited.
Sanga has expressed support for a future plan to make Khao San Road a pilot area to promote the responsible use of cannabis among Thais and foreign tourists. However, he acknowledged that the matter must be carefully considered by the government and relevant experts. (NNT)