BANGKOK (The Nation/Asia News Network): Thais will have to start flashing their citizen identification cards next month to buy ganja buds from 5,000 registered shops nationwide, a senior official said on Thursday (Dec 15).
Thongchai Lertwilairattanapong, director-general of the Thai Traditional and Complementary Medicine Department, said that after his department issued a directive to declare marijuana buds a controlled herb it began developing an online system to monitor their sale in registered shops.
Thongchai said owners of the registered shops must inform the department what they are doing with the dried marijuana buds, where they bought them and who they are selling them to.
The online system will require buyers to insert their ID cards into card readers so that the department can identify them in real time. Buyers must be at least 20 years old.
Thongchai said the online sales-record system will help the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) feel confident about the sale of ganja buds in Thailand.
“The system can create reports for the INCB and [this will] create confidence at the INCB over the sale of ganja buds,” Thongchai said.
He said the system is expected to be ready for use next month.
About 5,000 registered shops have received approval to sell ganja buds, with about 2,000 of them located in Bangkok – mostly in tourist destinations, such as Thong Lor and Khao San Road.
Thongchai added that although the directive of his department can control the sale and use of ganja buds, it would be better to have a specific law to prevent abuses. For example, such a law could prohibit smoking ganja in public areas, he said.