6 June 2024

A Democrat MP has demanded accountability from Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul over an incident involving two young boys pictured smoking cannabis in Pattaya.

Dr. Banyat Jetanajan, an MP for Rayong Province, said today (Friday) that he will ask Anutin how he would feel if the boys, who were shown publically smoking cannabis in a bamboo pipe in a widely-shared Facebook post yesterday, had been his children.

He also said that he will ask all the senior doctors at the Ministry of Public Health whether they had told the public health minister the whole truth about the potentially harmful effects of cannabis.

The person who posted the image said he approached the two children, aged 9 or 10, to ask them where their parents were.

The two boys replied that they have no parents, said the man, who then approached a teenager, sitting next to the boys, asking why he didn’t warn the boys about the illegality of smoking the herb in public, but he was ignored.

He also said that he would like authorities in Pattaya to check the beach area more frequently, to prevent a repeat of the incident, noting that it could present a bad image to tourists.

Dr. Banyat said that the Democrat party only supports the medical use of cannabis and disagrees with even controlled recreational use, as the Bhumjaithai Party advocates.

A law, proposed by the Bhumjaithai Party, seeks to decriminalise the use of cannabis, its extracts and hemp for medical and recreational purpose, but with certain restrictions.

The bill, which passed its first reading in the House and which was then heavily amended by the House scrutiny committee, is due for its second and final readings next week. It is, however, expected to face fierce resistance from the opposition and the Democrat Party.