Paiboon stands by delisting pot, krathom plan

Paiboon stands by delisting pot, krathom plan

Gen Paiboon Koomchaya
Gen Paiboon Koomchaya

Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya is standing firm in his aim to remove krathom and marijuana from the narcotic drugs list and treat them as medicinal herbs.

He believes the move is necessary because the government has failed to curb them.

He reiterated his stance yesterday when he met officials and civic groups from 14 southern provinces in Songkhla. The meeting was called because crackdowns in Thailand are believed to have forced people to buy the illicit plants from Malaysia, according to a source.

Gen Paiboon said the strict law against consuming krathom and marijuana has proved unsuccessful, so it is time to "rewrite the law, making krathom and marijuana herbs".

"But the law must make clear a legal way to use them," he said, adding that successfully eradicating these plants will not end drug problems.

Krathom, known scientifically as Mitragyna speciosa, and marijuana are currently categorised as Class 5 narcotics under the 1979 Narcotic Drugs Act. The law does not allow for the production, consumption, sale, import, export or possession of these drugs, unless permitted by the public health minister on a case-by-case basis.

Last month, the Food and Drug Administration suggested the government legalise krathom because experts have found it has medicinal properties, including as a painkiller.

The FDA believes a legal amendment will benefit the medical treatment of patients suffering from certain illnesses.

According to Gen Paiboon, controlling the use of krathom requires cooperation from the authorities who can educate people to prevent abuse.

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