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Thailand cannabis industry in limbo a year after decriminalization

Move Forward Party's planned curbs loom over booming industry

Members of the Department for the Development of Thai Traditional and Alternative Medicine inspect a cannabis shop on Khaosan Road in Bangkok on April 20. (Photo by Ken Kobayashi)

BANGKOK -- It was open for only half a year, but a cannabis store on Bangkok's Convent Road attracted enough controversy to feature in local newspapers. As bad publicity mounted, authorities suspended the store's license for operating across the street from a private girls' school.

Rival store owners on adjacent Silom Road shook their heads. "It should never have been there," said the manager of Buddha's Kush Street on Silom, one of Bangkok's busiest tourist and nightlife strips. Though these stores mostly cater to foreign customers, they are wary of feeding negative public perceptions that the cannabis industry was unleashed without safeguards.

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