Photos of Thai children as young as 9 smoking weed prompts demand for review of legalization

Photos of Thai children as young as 9 smoking weed prompts demand for review of legalization

December 2, 2022
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. 
Subscribe to
NextShark's Newsletter

A daily dose of Asian America's essential stories, in under 5 minutes.

Get our collection of Asian America's most essential stories to your inbox daily for free.

Unsure? Check out our Newsletter Archive.

“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. 
Cannabis products have become increasingly common in Thailand after its government legalized the cultivation of marijuana and hemp in 2018 for “medical purposes, economic benefits and for people to have a choice in taking care of their own health.”
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
      Michelle De Pacina

      Michelle De Pacina is a New York-based Reporter for NextShark




      Many people might not know this, but NextShark is a small media startup that runs on no outside funding or loans, and with no paywalls or subscription fees, we rely on help from our community and readers like you.

      Everything you see today is built by Asians, for Asians to help amplify our voices globally and support each other. However, we still face many difficulties in our industry because of our commitment to accessible and informational Asian news coverage.

      We hope you consider making a contribution to NextShark so we can continue to provide you quality journalism that informs, educates, and inspires the Asian community. Even a $1 contribution goes a long way. Thank you for supporting NextShark and our community.

      © 2023 NextShark, Inc. All rights reserved.