News update: Thailand should be removing kratom and cannabis from their narcotics list!
Kratom has been a Schedule V narcotic on Thailand’s narcotics list for 76 years despite it being a substance used traditionally in parts of Thai culture. Additionally, the laws surrounding kratom usage, possession, and sale in Thailand are incredibly strict. Southeast Asia, in general, is known for having some of the strictest punishments for illegal drug use and possession.
The changes regarding kratom and cannabis in Thailand aren’t going to happen immediately. Here’s what is going to happen and when it is likely for those new laws to go into effect.
Kratom Removal From Narcotics List
The most important thing in regards to kratom that is happening in Thailand is the removal of kratom from the narcotics list. Kratom was added to this list more than 76 years ago, but that’s is going to be changing soon.
In December 2019, the Justice Minister in Thailand, Somsak Tapsutin, announced that the ministry no longer considers kratom as a narcotic. He has issued a memorandum stating as much alongside the country’s Health Minister.
When making this decision, the ministry cross-referenced with the guidelines laid out by the World Health Organization. These guidelines require that the substance is reasonably addictive, dangerous, and harmful to society to be made illegal.
The Justice Minister shared the ministry’s position that kratom is not addictive or harmful enough to be classified as a narcotic, so they are beginning the process to change their stance.
The minister even mentioned that kratom is known to have some positive effects. The ministry is interested in those effects being explored with research. Plus, kratom could be provided to the public for medical use as needed.
Saving More, Making More
This change in laws in Thailand is a sign of changing times. Kratom has been banned for at least 76 years there, and the initial ban caused a huge career train and strained some Thai farmers.
Now, Thai farmers have reason to believe that they might be able to move into a new, old industry: kratom. There’s a sense of optimism about the potential economic boost that opening up the kratom market, even just a little bit, in Thailand might do.
Farmers in countries like Indonesia, where kratom farming and exportation is being phased out, are struggling to figure out what crop they will move on to when the industry completely closes down. That change is going to cause a huge economic problem in an inverse manner to the potential growth of the industry in Thailand.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin has estimated that the government spends about 20,000 baht, almost $700, per case on up to 50,000 kratom cases each year. By lowering the restriction levels and the amount of money that must be spent on each kratom-related case, the government will be able to save a lot of money.
How Will The FDA Respond?
In the past, the FDA has regularly used Thailand’s classification of kratom as narcotic as an example of why kratom should be restricted or banned in the USA. Now that leaders in Thailand are issuing memorandums and changing the status of kratom. What will the FDA say now?
This is something that many people are interested in finding out. In particular, the American Kratom Association leaders, who have been waiting for years to have a sit down meeting with the FDA about kratom, find this news a huge push in the right direction.
Kratom does not grow naturally in America. Organizations often look to countries where it does grow wild to determine how a substance should be used. Thailand could be considered a leader in how to handle kratom laws. Only time will tell if this news affects the FDA’s stance at all.
Narcotics Control Committee Updates
Another organization that will be changing in Thailand is the Narcotics Control Committee. This organization deals with the classification of narcotic substances, control of narcotics laws, and other aspects of narcotics problems in Thailand.
For the past few years, people and other governmental organizations in Thailand have raised some criticisms of the committee and how it is set up.
Recently, the National Legislative Assembly in Thailand voted to change the way that the organization is run and how many members are on the committee.
Paving The Way For Medical Legalization & Research
The legalization of medical marijuana was voted on at the same National Legislative Assembly meeting, and it passed with a full assembly vote for yes. It will take a few months for this change to go into effect. Still, the legalization and regulation of cannabis as a medical substance is going to pave the way for kratom to be used in a similar way.
As the Justice Minister has set up both cannabis and kratom for legalization, the National Assembly will need to vote on kratom next. This vote is expected to happen sometime in March according to the minister, but no official date has been set yet.
If it does pass the NLA vote, it is possible that the respective laws in Thailand will be changed as soon as June.
Why This Matters To You
Though you are using kratom in a country far away from Thailand, it is still possible that this change will end up affecting the products that you are using.
Nothing has been officially decided yet, but Thailand could begin allowing kratom farming and exportation if they want to get into the international kratom market. That would change the supply chain and ultimately would change what kinds of products you can purchase.
Additionally, Thailand is setting up the country for more research into kratom because scientists will be able to study wild-occurring plants with more freedom. This research is incredibly important and plays a large role in the future legality of kratom.
Without this research, it will be hard to convince some states and organizations about the safety of kratom. Research has already been done about kratom, but a huge amount is needed to fully show what kratom is, what it can do, and what it can treat with more specificity than is currently available.