In early 2010, the Thai Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) developed a policy proposal to review different aspects of the criminal justice process in relation to drug cases. The possibility of decriminalising the indigenous psychoactive plant, kratom, was included in the ONCB’s proposal for consideration by the Ministry of Justice.
This briefing paper provides an overview of issues related to kratom legislation and policy in Thailand as well as a set of conclusions and recommendations to contribute to a reassessment of the current ban on kratom in Thailand and the region. The briefing is based on desk research of existing documentation as well as field research carried out in October and November 2010 in Bangkok, Surat Thani, Trang, Satun, Songkhla, and Hat Yai in Thailand.
Kratom (Mitragynia speciosa korth) is a tropical deciduous tree that is part of the Rubiaceae family (same family as coffee). Indigenous to Southeast Asia, the tree can reach up to 15 metres or more and produces big broad leaves that have long been used for medicinal and recreational purposes. In Thailand, the kratom tree can mostly be found in the south of the country.
Kratom use has been reported to act on the central nervous system, both as…
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