Thai law makers recently removed the kratom plant (mitragyna speciose) as a controlled narcotic.
However, despite its declassification, some use of the plant remains illegal.
Now, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin, has warned that people in Thailand could still be falling foul of the law if they fail to follow the rules concerning the production and consumption of the psychoactive herbal remedy known as kratom.
According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, “at low doses, kratom produces stimulant effects with users reporting increased alertness, physical energy and talkativeness. At high doses, users experience sedative effects. Kratom consumption can lead to addiction”.
But since August, kratom can be legally grown at home and consumed for personal use.
It can also be sold commercially but for people to process the plant for use in herbal products or in food and cosmetics, prior approval must be granted by Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration.
According to Mr Thepsutin, mixing kratom with other drugs or substances remains illegal.
A popular way for people to consume kratom is to create a so-called “4×100” cocktail, which involves boiling the kratom leaves with Coca Cola and cough syrup.
However, this also remains illegal.
In fact, Mr Thepsutin stressed that simply by boiling the kratom leaves, people who do not have FDA approval would be in breach of the law and could face between 6 months and 2 years in jail and/or a fine of between 5,000 and 20,000 baht.
Thailand is hoping that kratom will become the next crop cash cow, alongside marijuana.
However, like marijuana, while the laws have been relaxed, certain aspects regarding its possession and usage remain illegal.
Mr Thepsutin emphasised the requirement for people who wish to start process kratom, for for the manufacturing of herbal products to seek FDA approval first.