Thailand scrambles to control cannabis sales and curb abuse

Thailand is tightening the country's cannabis regulations, issuing new guidance and measures intended to curb a rapid rise in the recreational use of the drug since its decriminalization last year. The topic is likely to be a major issue in general elections scheduled to happen by May.

The government said last month that showing identification will be required when buying cannabis flower buds, which are rich in hallucinogenic compounds. Bangkok aims to incorporate buyer information into a national database to track and analyze cannabis sales and purchases. Businesses that fail to comply risk having their sales license revoked.

Authorities also have intensified surveillance of dealers, arresting more than 30 people by January in places like Bangkok and the resort city of Pattaya for selling without a license, local media report.

Efforts to prevent abuse by foreign tourists also have been strengthened. The Public Health Ministry last month released 10 guidelines for travelers on using cannabis in Thailand, including conditions for purchasing and growing. The guidelines also warn that people who smoke cannabis in a public place can be jailed for up to three months or fined 25,000 baht ($740).

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