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Cops transferred for arresting woman with one cannabis plant

An inspector and three other Si Racha district police officers, in Thailand’s eastern province of Chon Buri, have been transferred to inactive posts at the operations centre for arresting a 56-year-old woman for having one cannabis plant in her apartment in Si Racha district.

Commander of Chon Buri provincial police Pol Maj-Gen Attasit Kitjaharn, who ordered the transfer of the four officers yesterday (Tuesday), said that the four should have exercised better judgment, by taking into consideration both the legal and social aspects, before making the arrest.

He said that the Royal Thai Police have issued a directive for all police to follow regarding offences related to cannabis and hemp during the transition period, after an amendment to the Narcotics Bill which removed them both from Category 5 list of narcotics has been passed, but will only be effective from June 9.

Despite this, he added, there are still some officers who do not follow this directive.

The four officers raided the suspect’s dwelling and found one cannabis plant, weighing about 20g, in her apartment in Bang Phra sub-district.

She was locked up in the Si Racha police station because she did not have the money or other means to provide bail surety.

The incident has provoked uproar on social media, with strong criticism being levelled against the Si Racha police in particular and the police force in general.

According to the Public Health Ministry’s announcement, by virtue of the amended Narcotics Bill, all parts of a cannabis plant, including its leaves, stems and extracts are legal, with the exception of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) content above 0.2%, which remains illegal.

An individual can grow cannabis plants for household use without having to seek a permission, but is required to register with the appropriate authorities.

Planting cannabis for the extracts, for sale or export or the import of cannabis and extracts need permission from Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.

Cannabis cannot be sold to people under 20, pregnant women or women who are breast-feeding or certain people prohibited by law.

Violations are subject to three years imprisonment and/or a fine of 300,000 baht if convicted.

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