The three children, reportedly aged nine to 10, were on a beach in Chon Buri province.
The photos were posted by Kritiwat Matrong, 35, while on his way to watch a fireworks display in Pattaya.
Thought they were playing
He initially thought the children were just playing and not smoking any substances for real, but then found out that they were.
When approached and warned about smoking, the children apparently told Matrong that they did not have any parents.
One boy then said, changing tunes: “I’m not scared of you. My dad is a soldier.”
Matrong said he made the matter known to the authorities, as children smoking damages their health and the country’s tourism image.
Thailand delisted cannabis as an illicit narcotic in June 2022 to allow the public to utilise the plant’s medicinal properties.
Little to no legislation to regulate marijuana use was planned before the delisting, and the use of the substance resides in a legally grey area as of now.
The only clear rule is that cannabis cannot be sold or used by anyone under 20 years old in Thailand.
Those who commented on the photos online condemned Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul’s decision to legalise cannabis.
Cannabis products have become increasingly common in Thailand following the legalisation of the cultivation of marijuana and hemp in 2018 for “medical purposes" and "economic benefits", and to allow people to choose to consume it for health reasons.
On Friday, Dec. 2, Banyat Jetanajan, a Democrat member of parliament for Rayong Province, demanded accountability from Charnvirakul.
He also questioned whether doctors at the Ministry of Public Health were able to inform the minister about the potential harmful effects of cannabis.
The Democrat party agrees with medical use of cannabis, but does not support controlled recreational use.
The Bhumjaithai Party proposed a law seeking to decriminalise the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes.
The bill is due for its final readings at the end of December 2022, but is expected to face resistance from the Democrat Party.
Photos accused of being 'staged'
Charnvirakul said on Dec. 3 that he believes the pictures were made up and put together to discredit the Bhumjaithai Party and its policy to decriminalise cannabis, PBS World reported.
He also raised the question of how a nine-year-old child could have money to pay for the pipe and weed.
PBS world also reported that Pattaya police and a social worker brought the 10-year-old boy involved back to a child care centre on Friday.
The boy's parents are reportedly separated and his grandmother had sent him to the centre to make him change his behaviour, but he managed to joined other street children in Pattaya.
Top photos via Kritiwat Matrong