Thailand, historically famous as Siam, is a country in Southeast Asia. Its population is almost seventy million. Thailand is a famous country all over the world. It is well known for the paradise Beaches Island, majestic and grandeur temples, delicious Thai foods, and incredible wildlife. People are also amiable and hospitable, making it an attraction for tourists from all over the world.
Thailand has a hot and humid climate, providing the best environment for the growth of Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as Kratom, an arborescent plant is indigenous to Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Papua New Guinea.
Kratom is mainly grown in the central and southern regions of Thailand. Even some species of ketum grown to the height of almost 100 feet. In Thailand, mostly Red Vein kratom is produced, the most mature and potent form with the highest alkaloid profile.
History of Kratom Legality in Thailand
As speciosa is native to Thailand, it is common to find the sources of ketum in Thailand, so it has a long history back, from then people have been using it as a beneficial substance for their well-being. But in 1943, Thailand authorities restricted the use of speciosa for medical purposes for the first time.
It has done after some circumstances, like ketums increasing popularity, raised amount for calming significantly caused closure of sedative market due to strict laws. At the same time, The Kratom Act was passed in Thailand; it was implemented to reduce the use and propagation of mitragyna trees, make it illegal to plant new trees, and ultimately cause the destruction of existing trees compulsory.
Since that time, Thailand authorities have made several conventions and agreements about the narcotic compounds; these were, The 1962 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, The 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and The United Nation Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, you can see no one of these conventions specifically mention Kratom among the list of prohibited compounds.
In 1979, Kratom was recategorized as a scheduled drug under the Narcotics Act B.E. 2522 (1979) Thailand’s viewpoint towards speciosa changed at the end of 2019, when the government legalized the manufacturing, processing, and using cannabis and Kratom, especially for medical purposes.
New legislation has been prepared to import and export mitragyna in all forms. There must be a license from authorities to handle the herb, and patients must have a medical prescription to use it. It is still illegal for recreation purposes; in the case of disobedience, people will be punished with a fine or imprisonment.
Kratom Legality in Thailand
As kratom status became legal in Thailand only for medical purposes, it is strictly prohibited and banned for self-medication. At present, if anyone possesses 10 kilograms of mitragyna or more than that without a permission letter from the government of Thailand, it will be considered as “possession for use.” This type of offense will hold a maximum sentence of a fine of 50,000 Bhat (Thai Currency) and imprisonment for five years, and it is particular for the quantity of 10 kilograms.
For more than 10 kilogram possession, 15 years of prison, and a fine of 150,000 Bhat fine will be sentenced as it will be considered the “possession to sell.” Moreover, additional charges can be imposed on those people who will be caught with more than 10 kilograms for manufacturing, processing, importing, or exporting an illegitimate drug without permission.
By the end of 2020 or early 2021, legal amendments have been made to flexible the restrictions on Kratom. The sub-committee on Kratom deregulation has stated that the Narcotics Control Board has already provided necessary information related to the amendments needed to ease the kratom ban, while the draft amendments to the Narcotics Act remove the mitragyna from the list of scheduled drugs.
The Cabinet has readily accepted it. Currently, the Office of the Council of the State of Thailand has been considering regularizing Kratom, and once they approve it, the Parliament will also act on it. Nimu Makaje, a leader of the Muslim community in Thailand’s southern province of Yala, expressed his concerns about abuse of the mitragyna plant, He said, “If you are legalizing it, we need to have proper controlling measures,”
He further said to The Associated Press, “Currently, many people have lost their jobs, and they may use it to reduce their tension . This is very dangerous”.
Ramdeen Areeabdulsorma, a local politician in nearby Pattani province, said that Kratom had been a part of local people’s daily life routine since a long time ago, helping them feel refreshed and relaxed.
He further explained to the local newspaper, “Decriminalizing Kratom is the right thing to do. Local people or patients who need it will access it more easily. However, I am concerned that teenagers will misuse it, for example, mixing Kratom with other narcotics. We have to control it strictly. Otherwise, it can cause damage”.
Jeremy Douglas from the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime said, “Thailand is discussing and considering drug rehabilitation and diversion programs for meth users to ease some pressure off the system and also because it is more effective.”
According to a statistical study conducted by Thailand Development and Research Institute (TDRI), “decriminalization of mitragyna will save the state about 1.69 billion Baht a year, incurred by the arrest, prosecution and imprisonment, when found guilty, of offenders”.
As per the report by TDRI, it was estimated that the legal process cost for each case is about 76000 Baht. And there were almost 22,076 cases filed related to Kratom between the month of last year, January, and the end of June this year.
Despite the developments made for kratom legality in Thailand, it is noteworthy that cultivating, consuming, experimenting, and researching mitragyna can only be carried out with the permission letter from the Thai authorities and within the limitations determined by relevant Thai Government Authorities.
However, criteria for approval related to kratom processing in all ways have not been published yet. These amendments will only be effective when published in the Royal Thai Gazette in detail. Therefore, producing, possessing, distributing, or experimenting with Kratom, even for research or medical purposes, will remain illegal until that time.
Summary – Kratom Legality in Thailand
In summary, we can say that there is a good possibility that the Thai Government will allow the use, possession, cultivation, distribution, import, and export of Kratom with complete rules and regulations of legality. This might help in exploring new miracles of this fantastic herb by experts. So, Kratom legality in Thailand will be the first step in this regard.