BANGKOK — On Tuesday, 24 August 2021, Thailand effectively decriminalized the consumption, production, sale, and possession of Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa (Korth.) Havil.), a Southeast Asian native plant. This plant also has a considerable following in the United States as a popular mild stimulator and pain reliever. The amendment to the Narcotics Act published in the Government Gazette removes Kratom from its previous Category V Narcotics classification.
Thousands of legal cases involving the possession or sale of Kratom are being dismissed, according to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, and 121 convicts convicted in such instances will be released immediately. Likewise, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) is identifying ongoing criminal cases that have not yet been finalized as all pending cases are expected to be dropped. Possession of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) or more of Kratom was punishable by up to two years in prison plus a fine of up to 200,000 baht ($6,077).
Legalization of Kratom
The country’s latest step to liberalize its drug laws was the legalization of Kratom, which meant removing the drug from its declared list of controlled substances. For the past two years, Thailand has authorized governing rules for marijuana. The government approved controlled medicinal marijuana usage and legal marijuana purchase and production. Safe and professionally produced cannabis exit packaging are relevant and protective measures that service intended and unintended users alike. Another approved law enables households to cultivate up to six plants. However, hard narcotics like heroin and methamphetamine continue to face severe penalties.
The new drug policy was sparked by a desire to relieve the strain on Thailand’s judicial system and overcrowded jails.
When Somsak Thepsuthin proposed the Kratom action to the Cabinet last year, he stated that it would help cut costs in the legal system and allow the drug to be utilized as a low-cost substitute for expensive painkillers like morphine. This move will also provide income to people who grow the plant, mainly produced and used in the poverty-stricken south.
Although people smoke Kratom, most users in Thailand usually chew the leaves to get a mild energy boost. It is also occasionally combined with other substances to create a narcotic tea or cocktail, which is still prohibited.
One U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration website lists Kratom as one of the “drugs of concern” for the agency, saying that it can be addictive. According to their website, the drug has stimulant effects, with users reporting increased talkativeness, physical energy, and alertness even at low doses. Users report sedative effects at large dosages.
According to the DEA, people have used Kratom to treat muscular strains, and as an opium replacement. The substance has also been used to manage opioid withdrawal symptoms.
In Thailand’s southern region of Yala, a Muslim community leader, Nimu Makaje, voiced worry over the plant’s misuse.
He told The Associated Press that if marijuana is legalized, there will be a need to have adequate control systems in place. He went on to say that many individuals have lost employment recently, and they may use it to relieve stress which he says is very dangerous.
Ramdin Areeabdulsorma, a local lawmaker in the neighboring Pattani province, claimed Kratom has long been a part of local people’s everyday lives, assisting them in feeling refreshed.
He feels that it is the proper thing to do to decriminalize Kratom. This way, local residents or patients who require it will have easier access. However, he is afraid that teenagers will abuse it by combining Kratom with other drugs adding that there’s a need to keep a tight grip on this because it might cause harm.
Kratom is unregulated primarily in the United States; however, it is prohibited in a few states. It is most often available at smoke shops that also sell vaping equipment and CBD products (Beneficent with many site effects for body health fitness). Still, an industry lobby also promotes it as a natural analgesic, a safer alternative to potent opioids.
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