Kratom bill tightened

Kratom bill tightened

A vendor takes fresh kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) leaves out of a bag at Din Daeng market in Bangkok on Sept 14, 2021. (File photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
A vendor takes fresh kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) leaves out of a bag at Din Daeng market in Bangkok on Sept 14, 2021. (File photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The Senate has made changes to the bill on kratom to specify where the formerly illicit plant is barred from sale and to whom it's not allowed to be sold, according to the Justice Ministry.

Minister Somsak Thepsutin said on Wednesday the Senate has rectified 11 sections in the bill which cleared the House of Representatives earlier. They include Sections 25 and 34.

In Section 25, the changes ban online sales of kratom while Section 34 was modified to double the punishment against anyone who sells kratom leaves to people underage, and pregnant or lactating women.

Mr Somsak said the Senate has approved the changes to the bill which has now gone back to the House of Representatives. If the MPs dispute the changes, a joint-chamber panel will be formed to iron out the differences.

Mr Somsak added the Justice Ministry does not object to the changes. However, if a joint panel was to be set up, he would take part in it to help smooth out the legislative process.

He said the ministry regards the bill as useful and it was eager to see it enacted before the government's term expires in March next year. 

Wichai Chaimongkol, secretary-general of the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB), said kratom has been delisted as a Category 5 narcotic substance under the Illicit Drugs Act, which permits a person to grow, sell, buy, possess, and consume kratom.

People break no law for chewing, eating or boiling kratom. However, kratom leaves may not be processed into cosmetics unless permission is secured from the Food and Drug Administration. 

His explanation followed the release of a clip in which actor Saranyoo Prachakrit was conducting a live stream and seen chewing kratom leaves while driving. 

Mr Wichai said the actor did not violate the law for chewing the leaves although he was later charged with traffic offences including reckless driving.

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