Is Kratom Really Legal In Thailand?
Kratom has had a very complicated history in Thailand, where sometimes it would gain acceptance, whereas, on other occasions, it would be prohibited. Kratom is a tropical tree also known as Mitragyna speciosa, and it is native to countries in Southeast Asia, where the natives used the leaves of this tree for centuries.
Traditionally, the people of Thailand would chew on the leaves of this tree or sometimes brew it in the form of tea to alleviate tiredness and fatigue among users.
Then, in 1943, there came the Kratom Act, where kratom was banned across the board due to rising concerns regarding its abuse and addiction. Severe punishments were meted out to anybody found possessing the compound or these leaves, and the punishments even included prison sentences.
The punishments kept changing for a number of years, but by and large, Kratom continued to be considered an illegal plant in Thailand. However, in recent years, we have witnessed a change in attitude towards kratom’s use and sale in Thailand. We have discussed these changes in the article below.
History Of Kratom Regulation In Thailand
Kratom has been used traditionally by the people of Thailand for a very long time. It is still used generally in Thai medicine as a painkiller and to help resolve digestive issues such as diarrhea, constipation, or indigestion.
Kratom is also a stimulant. It helps improve levels of energy and focus in individuals after consumption. As a result, it is a favorite among manual laborers who use this substance to get an extra boost of energy and then as a sedative and relaxant at the end of the day.
Due to its cultural and social importance, many people view it as an essential part of their culture and heritage, and this awareness plays an important part in the decision to review the legal status of kratom.
There was also a lot of evidence to suggest that it had many potential benefits and uses. These potential therapeutic uses were the driving force behind the attempt to regulate kratom leaves and their use in Thailand. People working in favor of regulating the plant insisted on the need for responsible use so that any potential harm could be avoided.
Finally, in 2018, the Narcotics Control Board removed kratom from the list of category 5 narcotics so that it could be cultivated and sold, but under strict regulation. This was an important move by the government as it suggested a positive shift in the government’s views regarding kratom and its potential benefits.
The Narcotics Act (No. 8) B.E. 2564 (2021) has come as a breath of fresh air for all kratom fans. This amended regulation has removed kratom from the list of substances that have been prohibited by law. Users now have the freedom to own and consume kratom as and when they wish.
Since this law came into effect as the Kratom Plant Act B.E. 2565 (2022) and was published in the Government Gazette, all kinds of economic activities connected with kratom in Thailand have been encouraged. The government has made this possible by introducing measures to control the trading, consumption, and advertising of kratom leaves.
By legalizing kratom in Thailand, the government has not only gratified the consumers but has also earned tremendous support from kratom traders.
A Category 5 Narcotic in Thailand
Narcotics are divided into 5 separate categories by the Narcotics Act in Thailand. The fifth category used to include four substances, namely, kratom, cannabis, and magic mushrooms. However, amendments were made to this Narcotics Code in May of 2021, and kratom was removed from this list. This step was taken to promote the growth of kratom leaves as a cash crop so business activities around it could flourish.
Harsh Drug Laws: Some Stay, Some Go
For a number of decades, countries in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, have had harsh drug laws with severe punishments being prescribed to people who were found with prohibited substances. However, Thailand’s Narcotic Code started a new regulation period by legalizing kratom and marijuana for commercial use in 2021.
This law kept evolving, and with the new Amendment Number 8, the recreational use of marijuana and kratom has been made legal. This new Narcotics Code is a huge “win” for Thailand.
It has taken the shape of a well-rounded legislation encompassing all regulations regarding narcotics and psychotropic substances in Thailand. It has helped clarify what drugs are allowed in Thailand.
There are still some legal requirements that need to be met by all persons dealing with these substances, such as acquiring a license from the secretary-general of the Narcotics Control Board (NCB). This license remains valid for a period of five years.
What Does The Law Say About Kratom In Thailand?
The first piece of good news is that bringing in or taking kratom out of Thailand for personal use is exempted from any licensing requirements. Carrying kratom in such quantities, which is for personal use, is considered legal, and the exact amount is specified in ministerial legislation.
However, if the amount carried by international passengers is more than that specified in the law, a license will need to be acquired.
Anyone who is caught carrying more than this amount is punishable by up to a year in jail and a fine of TBH 100,000. In some cases, both punishments can be enacted.
The legalization of kratom and marijuana has also opened doors for research into the two substances, another promising part of the new amendment. The laws surrounding drug offenses are still extremely strict in Thailand and the surrounding Southeast Asian countries.
However, this is a huge step forward for drug law reform, and it seems to be a promising sign of shifting ideas among the Thai people.
Where Is Kratom Available In Thailand?
Kratom is available easily throughout Thailand, and that too at very reasonable prices. You can purchase the leaves for as low as 100 Baht for 100 g. You can not only buy kratom on online marketplaces like Facebook, Instagram, and Shoppee but also in many supermarket chains throughout the country.
These leaves can easily be brewed to create tea, while at the same time, kratom products in different varieties are also freely available. For example, kratom coffee or snacks with kratom are welcome additions to the food scene in Thailand. A new kratom bar has also been introduced where new drinks mixed with kratom are served.
Who Can Trade Kratom In Thailand?
All those who can trade kratom legally in Thailand and are eligible to receive a license include:
- Thai nationals over twenty years old and residing in Thailand;
- Juristic persons registered under Thai law;
- Community enterprises under the law; and
- Government agencies.
At the same time, the government has also granted permission to sell kratom leaves alone under the Kratom Plant Act. However, there are still some restrictions which are in place for the benefit of the consumers. These restrictions make sure that kratom is not misused.
For example, it is not allowed to sell to pregnant women and teens under 18 years of age.
Similarly, buying and selling of kratom leaves or food containing the substance is strictly prohibited in schools, colleges, dorms, and other public places. Strict penalties can be imposed on anyone who is found in violation of these rules.
Keeping the health and safety of consumers in mind, the government has strictly prohibited traders from advertising the use of kratom along with any other narcotic or psychotropic compound. Anyone found in violation of these rules can have strict punishments, and heavy fines meted out to them.
These fines and punishments can even be doubled if the violations are made against underage users or pregnant or breastfeeding women.
What Is kratom?
It is a preparation of the leaves of a Southeast Asian evergreen tree, consumed (depending on the amount) as a sedative or a stimulant.
Is kratom Sold In Thailand?
Kratom is very readily available throughout Thailand at very reasonable prices.
What Drugs Are Allowed In Thailand?
Any medication that falls under Category 1such as heroin, is strictly prohibited. However, the drugs under the remaining three categories, such as morphine, cocaine, codeine or medicinal opium, and acetic anhydride, are allowed with a doctor’s prescription and in the original packaging.
How Is Kratom Consumed In Thailand?
You can consume the leaves any way you like, by chewing or boiling them to make a solution. The leaves can also be brewed to make a kratom tea or can be mixed with different flavors to create a drink that is to your liking.
What Is A Narcotic?
It is a drug or any other substance that affects the mood or behavior of the user and is consumed for non-medical purposes, especially one sold illegally.