Kratom draft legalisation awaits state council review
The cabinet on Monday approved the Justice Ministry's bill amending the Kratom Act, a step closer towards the legalisation of the drug for medicinal purposes.
Rachada Dhnadirek, deputy spokesman for the government, told a press briefing yesterday the bill aims to prevent the public from abusing kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, once it is legalised.
The cabinet earlier this year agreed to a ministry proposal to reclassify the plant from a Type-5 narcotic due to its medicinal properties. The plant has long been used as traditional medicine to treat pain, fever, dysentery and diarrhoea.
According to the ministry's bill, if passed, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) would be authorised to approve the production, import and export of kratom products for medicinal purposes. Those who violate the rules would face a two-year jail sentence and a fine of up to 200,000 baht. Those under 18 and pregnant women would be prohibited from buying or selling the plant, with similar penalties. Also, the plant would be banned from schools, dormitories, public parks, zoos, amusement parks and online markets visited by youths.
If approved, the act would also ban the advertising of kratom products. Those who violate this rule would face a six-month sentence with a 500,000-baht fine. Ms Rachada said the bill will be forwarded to the Office of the Council of State (OCS) for review before it is approved by the House.