On December 27, 2018, the Thai government made another big move. It signed a memorandum removing kratom from Thailand’s Narcotics List.
Let’s take a look at what this means, why this happened in the first place, and what Thailand has done up to this point.
Kratom Ban in Thailand
Despite being indigenous to Thailand, kratom was illegal in the country for nearly 80 years. The Thai government passed The Kratom Act in 1943, prohibiting planting new kratom trees and allowing cutting down the existing ones.
Organizations and officials in the United States interested in banning kratom have long used it an argument against the herb. They stated that kratom must be a dangerous drug if its own country of origin had banned it.
Yet, that wasn’t actually the case. Despite the popular belief, Thailand didn’t ban kratom because it was dangerous and misused. In actuality, the ban occurred because kratom was beneficial.
During the Great East Asia War, a great number of people resorted to opioids. So, the Thai government began levying taxes from people and stores involved in the opium trade. Many chose kratom as an alternative, causing the government to miss out on the money they would have collected from opium taxes.
Banning kratom implied removing it as a competition.
A few decades later, in 1979, the government included kratom in Thailand’s Narcotics Act.
Some brought kratom seeds to Indonesia and other locations to preserve it from going extinct while in some areas, especially in the southern provinces, kratom trees kept growing in dense jungles.
Thailand Legalized Kratom for Medical Use
On December 25, 2018, Thailand legalized kratom and medical marijuana for medicinal use. This new law decriminalized the import, export, possession, and processing of both products for medical purposes.
However, this did not mean that kratom became accessible to everyone. Producers and vendors need to have a license to handle and sell kratom and medical marijuana, whereas buyers must have a doctor’s prescription.
Buying, selling, processing, and possessing kratom and medical marijuana without those remained illegal.
Kratom Legality in Thailand
The new decision to remove kratom from Thailand’s Narcotics List does not yet mean that kratom is 100% legal and accessible to everyone yet. At this time, kratom has only been legalized for medical use. So, further action needs to take place to make it accessible to the masses.
Considering the latest events, though, this may actually happen really soon. Especially because some high-ranking officials believe that this would be beneficial for the people.
If you are unsure if kratom is legal in your state and would like to learn more about kratom legality in the United States, please view this post.