At 11:00 AM on September 26, 2023, in a hotel located in Tha Sala, Chiang Mai, officials from the Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) – specifically the TDRI Law Reform Team – visited the area to gather information from locals affected by a cannabis farm situated within their community. This farm has been a source of health concerns for many residents, with several falling ill due to allergic reactions to the cannabis scent. Some have even relocated to other provinces to escape the overpowering aroma.
Ms. Kanget Saraphat, leader of the Ban Khuan Sukhaphap community enterprise, shared the community’s previous engagements with the drug department and Huai Yot Hospital in Trang for supplying medical cannabis. However, these engagements have now ceased, leaving the community with an excess of dried cannabis.
The TDRI Law Reform Team, accompanied by local officials, interviewed residents living adjacent to the cannabis farm. They confirmed the continuous and strong scent of cannabis, especially noticeable in the hotel’s parking area and the second floor of an abandoned house owned by relatives of the hotel owner who had a cannabis farm. Due to severe allergic reactions, the relatives have since moved to another province.
The cannabis farm in question had initially informed the Tha Sala local government that they intended to construct an office building. However, the local government did not grant permission for cannabis cultivation or processing. Despite this, the scent of cannabis is evident in the area.
The TDRI Law Reform Team is conducting a comprehensive study on the appropriateness of cannabis cultivation areas in Thailand. This research, funded by the National Research Office, aims to analyze and review various challenges in the cannabis industry, both legal and non-legal, and provide recommendations suitable for Thailand.
When asked if the findings from their research would be made public, the TDRI Law Reform Team confirmed that they would disseminate the information through media outlets once data from all regions of the country have been collected and analyzed.