Boogie time: Thai minister loosens up for cannabis presentation

FILE PHOTO: Anutin Charnvirakul, the leader of the Bhumjaithai party gestures during an interview with Reuters in Bangkok

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thailand's public health minister and his top bureaucrats danced along to pop tunes ahead of a news conference called to present the first batch of cannabis oil produced by a state-owned pharmaceutical company on Wednesday.

A video clip of the minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, and dozen officials showing off their moves, quickly went viral among Thai social media users, some of whom questioned whether the officials had been sampling the product.

Some of the dance moves seemed to be drawn from martial arts, with punches and uppercuts thrown, but they were all accompanied by smiles.

Contrary to appearances, the ministry's information bureau explained the officials were only complying with a government initiative that encourages civil servants to stand up and dance in order to shake off any lethargy during meetings lasting more than two hours.

As for the cannabis oil, Thailand legalised its use for medical purposes earlier this year, and the news conference was called to mark the distribution of 4,500 bottles to hospitals.

Thailand aims to distribute 1 million bottles within five to six months.



(Reporting by Jiraporn Kuhakan, Writing by Patpicha Tanakasempipat; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)