Legislators are working to fast-track the legalisation of kratom -- the tropical herb currently classified as a narcotic, for medical purposes, within 90 days after being announced in the Royal Gazette.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin told media yesterday that the House committee looking at narcotics laws has approved speeding up the time frame to legalise kratom, one of the Mitragyna species, a tropical tree with both medicinal and psychedelic properties.
Kratom has been used as an ingredient for traditional medicine.
However, it is also known to have stimulating effects on the mind which has made it popular as a recreational drug -- one of the main reasons why authorities for several decades have classified kratom as a narcotic.
There have been several attempts to amend the law to legalise kratom over the past three decades.
Such attempts bore fruit during this government's tenure, with political parties like the Bhumjaithai Party campaigning to legalise cannabis and also kratom for medical use.
"No one disagreed about legalising kratom [for medical purposes]. So we need to fast-track what is useful for the public," Mr Somsak told reporters after meeting the House committee tasked to amend this law.
He said the time frame will be proposed and discussed in a meeting next Friday.
The Narcotics Control Board and the Ministry of Justice already proposed the amendment to the cabinet.
Mr Somsak said the time frame referred to in Section 2 of the draft, which states it will be legalised 180 days after being announced in the Royal Gazette, could be perceived as being too long.
In the initial proposal to the Council of State of Thailand, Wichai Chaimongkol, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, did not specify the time frame but demanded sufficient time to deliberate the law.