Lawmakers on Wednesday gave a green light to removing a psychoactive folk remedy from the list of controlled substances, opening the door to a new cash crop for farmers.
The House of Representatives yesterday voted 319 to 7 to delist kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, as a Class 5 narcotic. The bill is expected to pass in the Senate, after which the plant will no longer be considered an illicit drug 90 days after the change is proclaimed in the Royal Gazette.
Sales will still be illegal to anyone under 18, as will advertising blends of kratom with other types of drugs.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said declassifying it as a drug would boost farmers as the plant has the potential to be a new cash crop. Somsak said passing the bill would also help reduce workload of authorities who work with kratom-related crimes.
Tens of thousands of cases annually involve prosecution of kratom users, who have long used it as a folk remedy. Kratom combines opioid-like properties and all the fun of a stimulant. Consumption for medical purposes became legal along with cannabis in early 2019.