After Thailand decriminalized cannabis, shoppers could be forgiven for needing a double take with buds and other cannabis products openly on sale in one Hua Hin shopping mall this weekend.
789 Thongthai Herb, a community enterprise, opened at a booth at Market Village and had a variety of strains of cannabis available for sale.
Staff were also on hand to educate people and answer questions they had related to cannabis use.
The site of cannabis openly on sale in Hua Hin is one that has been commonplace throughout Thailand since the country decriminalized the drug last week.
On Khao San Road, both Thais and foreigners queued up to buy cannabis, while it was reportedly a similar story at many of the newly opened cannabis dispensaries in Silom and Sukhumvit in Bangkok.
Subscribe to the Hua Hin Today newsletter for the latest news, information and events from Hua Hin delivered to your inbox SUBSCRIBE
Despite the decriminalization, the authorities, including health minister Anutin Charnvirakul, have stressed that recreational use will continue to be illegal and that any use of cannabis must be for medical purposes only.
“Don’t use it and sit smiling at home and not get any work done. Those things are not our policies,” Mr Anutin told Reuters.
Officials had said the consumption of cannabis or cannabis products that contain more than 0.2% of THC without permission or without a medical prescription is illegal.
However, there is currently what police are calling a ‘vacuum period’.
It’s a grey area where next to no rules are in place with regards to cannabis.
This is because despite cannabis being decriminalized, Thailand is yet to pass new regulations under the Cannabis Act.
Until the Act is effective, the only powers police have to stop cannabis smokers are the laws regarding public nuisance.
For example, a smoker could be charged if the cannabis smoke they exhale is a nuisance to or upsets their neighbours. People have also been asked not to smoke in public places.
But until the Cannabis Act is passed, there are not any laws in place yet regarding smoking in Thailand.
With regards to growing cannabis, people have been asked to notify the authorities by registering via the Plook Ganja app. However, there is no legal requirement to do so.
As of Sunday, Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration said that 670,000 people had registered to grow cannabis, with the Plook Ganja app and website receiving 32 million hits in the first two days after its launch.