BMA Reject Calls To Allow Khao San Road To Be Cannabis Hub

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has firmly rejected business operators’ request to convert Khao San Road into Thailand’s cannabis hub.

Deputy Bangkok governor Jakkapan Phiewngam spoke about the BMA’s decision, explaining that the popular tourist destination is unlikely to be positioned and promoted as the country’s cannabis hub as it’s home to many schools and temples.

In addition, the Public Health Ministry is the only body allowed to regulate the trade in cannabis and derivative products.

Mr. Jakkapan insisted the country’s image could be affected if the government turns Khao San Road into a cannabis hub, as no current regulations guarantee cannabis-based products’ safe sale and quality.

Instead, the BMA will focus on following the 1997’s Maintenance of Cleanliness and Orderliness of the Country Act to ensure that cannabis-based products’ sale and consumption do not ruin Bangkok’s or the country’s reputation, the deputy governor said.

Thailand recently became the first country in Asia to decriminalize cannabis. However, vendors and stall owners who want to sell marijuana-based products must register and obtain the necessary permits with their local district offices.

Also, cannabis-based products that have already been registered with authorities cannot be altered in any way and without the district office’s permission.

Mr. Jakkapan also reminded the public that it is still illegal to publicly sell cannabis-infused food and drinks. He added that the BMA had ordered the capital’s law enforcement agencies to comb the capital’s districts for marijuana-based products, especially around schools.

Newly elected Bangkok Governor Chadchart Sittipunt also raised concerns about cannabis promotion in the capital.

The governor said viral videos showing vendors selling cannabis-related products could damage the city’s reputation. Therefore, he has urged agencies to run public service campaigns and make relevant announcements to discourage people from using the plant for recreational purposes.

Meanwhile, Sanga Ruengwattanakul, President of the Khao San Road Businesses Association, said authorities should not miss the opportunity to use cannabis decriminalization to promote tourism.

However, Mr. Sanga recommended that the government implement control measures to limit the plant legalization’s adverse impact on society, such as requesting ID verification at points-of-sale to prevent sales to minors or asking shop owners to set aside areas for cannabis consumption.

According to Mr. Sanga, Khao San Road could play an important role in promoting responsible cannabis use among international tourists.