Justice minister wants go ahead for kratom-based products

Justice minister wants go ahead for kratom-based products

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin.

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin on Thursday urged the Public Health Ministry to quickly amend regulations to permit the sale of kratom-based products to provide needed income for rural people.

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) was already reclassified as a legal herb, having been removed from the narcotics list, and people were allowed to consume, grow, possess and sell the fresh leaves, he said.

However, the use of kratom in herbal products still required approval from the Public Health Ministry under the Herbal Products Act.

Its commercial use in food and tea for sale was still prohibited by a regulation that the Public Health Ministry issued by virtue of the Food Act. Violators were liable to a maximum  two years in prison and/or a fine of 20,000 baht, the justice minister said.

"Laws concerning herbal products, drugs, food and cosmetics limit the use of kratom.

"The Public Health Ministry should amend the laws to let people and businesses use kratom in the form of herbal products, drugs, food and cosmetics. These laws prevent village business," Mr Somsak said.

The amendment to the Narcotics Act removing kratom from the narcotics list took effect on Aug 23, and reclassified kratom as a herb.

It has both opioid and stimulant-like effects and has been used for a long time in almost all regions of the country. Farmers, for instance, would chew on the plant's leaves to keep up their energy while working in the fields.

The Mitragynine in kratom leaves helps boost energy levels in a similar manner to caffeine in coffee.

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