In a widely shared Facebook post, two children were photographed smoking marijuana from bamboo pipes on a beach in Chon Buri province in eastern Thailand.
The photos were posted by Kritiwat Matrong, 35, who came across the three children, reportedly aged 9 to 10, while on his way to watch a fireworks display in Pattaya.
He approached the children and warned them against smoking.
“I’m not scared of you. My dad is a soldier,” one of the boys replied, while the other said he did not have any parents.
Matrong informed the authorities, citing the damage to the children’s health and to the country’s tourism industry image.
“I understand that now ganja is free, but shouldn’t we have boundaries? Don’t ignore it. I pity these children. These kids, their future is still far away,” Matrong said, according to Coconuts.
Netizens also voiced their concern for the children, with many condemning Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul’s decision to legalize cannabis.
“Send this to Anutin to show what he accomplished,” one user wrote.
On Friday, Dr. Banyat Jetanajan, a Democrat member of parliament for Rayong Province, demanded accountability from Charnvirakul. He also questioned whether doctors at the Ministry of Public Health were able to inform the minister about the potential harmful effects of cannabis.
Jetanajan suggested authorities frequent the beach area more to prevent similar incidents, noting its bad image to tourists.
The Bhumjaithai Party proposed a law seeking to decriminalize the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes. The bill is due for its final readings next week but is expected to face resistance from the Democrat Party. Although the Democrat party agrees with medical use of cannabis, it does not support controlled recreational use.
Featured Image via Kritiwat Matrong