Kratom inmates to be let out of jail

Kratom inmates to be let out of jail

More than 1,000 inmates jailed for kratom use and possession will be released after a new law in which the plant is removed from the list of narcotics takes effect next week.

Government spokesman Anucha Burapachaisri said kratom has been removed from the list under the amended Narcotics Act which comes into effect on Tuesday.

As a result, a total of 1,038 people imprisoned for kratom use and possession will be released and their offences expunged, he said. For those being prosecuted or standing trial, authorities will see to it that they are released from custody, Mr Anucha said.

Before its decriminalisation, kratom was categorised as a Class 5 narcotic under the Narcotics Act, which made consumption, cultivation and possession of any part of the plant illegal.

Mr Anucha said the country is expected to save about 1.7 billion baht annually in legal costs following the decriminalisation of the plant.

Citing research from the Thailand Development Research Institute, he said legal expenses for each court case are 76,612 baht and there were 22,076 kratom-related cases from Jan 1, last year, to June 30 this year.

He said people can grow and sell kratom after decriminalisation but mixing it with drugs on the narcotics list remains illegal. Permission is required for imports and exports for industrial use, he said.

Kratom was declassified in May as an illegal drug. It will take effect on Aug 24, 90 days after the announcement was made in the Royal Gazette on May 28.

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