Thai Cannabis Stores to face Weekly Inspections

Liz Filmer
08 Sep 2023

Health officials in Phuket, Thailand, are to conduct weekly random checks of cannabis venues and outlets across the island, as revealed by Dr Kusak Kukkiattikoon, the Chief of Phuket Provincial Public Health Office (PPHO). This is part of a drive to control the island's speedily growing new cannabis industry.

The immediate goal of the inspections is to guarantee that licenced retailers inform their customers against smoking cannabis in any way that creates undesirable odours, smoke and nuisance to the public.

Cannabis may have been legalised with little regulation in Thailand. Still, the fallout from the act, including the smell and smoke from lighting up in public, can be met with criminal charges of "public nuisance". An offence that currently carries a fine of up to 20,000 baht. 

Phuket is home to 1,451 businesses retaining licences to sell cannabis, spread across the island, with 729 in Mueang District, 502 in Kathu District and 222 in Thalang District. The strategy behind the inspections was explained by the PPHO chief as follows.

"To ensure effective control and oversight, we will perform unannounced weekly inspections, often during nighttime, to discourage [breaking laws] and advise and ensure adherence to regulations."

The legal consequences for violators were highlighted, including suspending or removing the perpetrator's distribution licence, fines of up to 20,000 baht, and even imprisonment for up to 12 months. Several cannabis stores have already faced the wrath of prosecution for operating without an official license. Dr Kusak has warned that authorities will also use social media information as evidence.

"Licenced shops that disobey official orders can face 30-day licence suspensions, and if violations continue, licenses can be revoked. Suppose evidence [of breaking the regulations] emerges on social media. In that case, authorities will act according to the law, whether an incident occurs before them or is reported later."

The inspections were further explained by saying that apart from acquiring the crucial legal authorisation for distributing cannabis, operators are also obliged to notify customers that smoking cannabis in the vicinity of the shops is forbidden. Disregarding this ruling alone could result in disciplinary consequences, including a possible jail sentence of three months, a 25,000 baht fine, or a combination of the two.

For outlets like restaurants, they must display that their offerings contain cannabis and supply advice on how to consume it safely if they are to pass any formal assessment. They must also confirm their certification from the relevant local authorities before legally trading as food vendors.

Failure to obtain this compulsory licence may have harsh repercussions, including a prison sentence of up to six months and a 50,000 baht fine.

With cannabis reform being relatively new to Thailand and much of their trade being tourist-based, it is reassuring to hear that these checks are being implemented to protect the health and safety of those visiting and experimenting with cannabis, potentially for the first time.

More on this topic from Soft Secrets

Is Thailand's Cannabis "Boom" about to end.

New Set of Cannabis Measures in Thailand

Thailand Rolls out Cannabis Food Menu's


Liz Filmer