By Nayara Batschke
Bangkok, Aug 8 (EFE).- Following in the footsteps of the food trucks phenomenon, the new craze in the streets of Bangkok are “marijuana express trucks,” which drive around the city after the decriminalization of cannabis in Thailand two months ago.
Where until recently it was only possible to find marijuana for furtive – and illegal – consumption in some tourist spots, it is now common to find cannabis trucks and dispensaries that openly and legally sell marijuana products and buds across the Thai capital.
On a busy street in the Thonglor neighborhood, known for its vibrant nightlife, several trucks parked side-by-side advertise their cannabis products under the curious gaze of passers-by.
At their window-bars, customers can choose from a menu of various strains, offering consumers buds labeled by their different effects.
“We have all types. We have this one that is more for excitement, we also have some if you want to feel creative, talkative, focused, to go partying or to feel relaxed,” says Kornpatthipong or “Buddee,” who works in a weed truck strategically parked next to a famous nightclub.
According to the seller, this kind of establishment experienced a real boom after Thai authorities legalized the use of cannabis and removed the substance from its narcotics list in early June.
“We have a lot of customers on Friday and Saturday – they go drinking and partying, and come to buy a joint, and go back to the party,” says Buddee.
In the midst of growing competition, creativity is an essential factor. Each vehicle is different, whether through flashy lights, music, the friendliness of the vendors or the services offered.
“So far so good. We are creating a list of frequent customers and we’re always thinking of what we can do to innovate,” a partner in one of the vehicles, who a month ago left behind life as a salesman to open his own business, told EFE.
Customers are given a wide range of menu items and prices and can choose between buying only the buds, sold in grams, or pre-rolled joints.
“It is nice, this legalization, because many people already smoked before and now they will keep doing it, but legally. And for those who don’t like it, they can simply choose not to smoke,” said one Thonglor patron.
However, while cannabis was delisted to promote the medicinal use of the plant, regulation of its consumption is still in the works, which has left much confusion among sellers and consumers.
“It’s tricky because since there is no regulation – it’s still a very grey area in terms of what you can do and what you cannot,” Yada Tianprasit, a Thammasat University Criminal Law and Criminology Department professor, told EFE.
Despite the euphoria and potential associated with the cannabis business, most stores are cautious and ask customers to consume the substance privately.
The sale of cannabis is also prohibited to anyone pregnant and those under 20.
“For people under 20 it is nice that the government put laws because they are young and impressionable. They can decide if they want to do it or not when they are older,” said the owner of a weed truck located in the crowded downtown neighborhood of Asoke, another of Bangkok’s nightlife hubs. EFE nbo-sm/tw-lds