Kratom plants 'legal to grow' from Aug 24
Kratom, the plant formerly listed as a narcotic, should be legal to grow from Aug 24, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said on Thursday.
He said passage of the Kratom Plant Bill was almost complete and barring any constitutional objections, should be enacted by the time the plant's delisting as a narcotic takes effect on Aug 24.
Kratom was declassified in May as an illegal drug from a list under the amended Narcotics Act.
Mr Somsak said the new version of the Act was published in the Royal Gazette on Wednesday prior to it taking effect on Aug 24.
Meanwhile, the ministry is pushing the Kratom Plant Bill to facilitate cultivation of the plant and its use after becomes legal.
"I must warn that kratom is still considered illegal, so I ask people to wait a little longer before trying to grow it. Each committee scrutinising the bill is speeding up efforts to ensure people can grow it as a new cash crop as quickly as possible," Mr Somsak said.
When the legislation is in place, each household will be free to grow as much kratom as they want, he added. However, permission is still required from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to process kratom into products.
The sale of kratom to children and pregnant women still will be prohibited, as well as mixing it with drugs on the narcotics list.
Kratom will become an economic crop that can be exported to make extra money for farmers, the minister said.
Meanwhile, police have arrested a 28-year-old monk from Phitsanulok, identified as Phra Witthawas, after he was caught in Bangkok with 205 kilogrammes of crystal meth and 31kg of heroin worth 55 million baht.