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Kratom a step closer to legalisation for medicinal use

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Wikimedia

Kratom, a plant known for its psychotropic and relaxing effects, is in the process of being legalised in Thailand for medicinal use. The Cabinet just approved the Justice Ministry’s bill to amend the Kratom Act which would legalise production as well as importation and exportation of kratom. The bill will be forwarded to the Office of the Council of State before it is approved by the House.

The kratom tree, Mitragyna speciosa, is native to Southeast Asia and in the coffee family. The leaves have been used in traditional medicine to treat pain, fever, dysentery and diarrhoea, according to the Bangkok Post. In recent years, kratom has become popular in the United States and used recreationally with many tea bars offering different types of kratom teas and shakes. Some people with a history of alcohol addiction have used kratom as an alternative. Others enjoy the kratom’s relaxing effects.

The proposed amendment would allow kratom products to be produced, as well as import and export of the products, as long as they are for medicinal purposes and authorised by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board. Under the proposed bill, those who violate the rule face up to 2 years in jail and a fine up to 200,000 baht.

Earlier this year, the Cabinet also agreed to reclassify kratom because of its medicinal properties. For the past 78 years, kratom has been categorised in Thailand as a Type-5 narcotic.

The deputy spokesperson for the government, Rachada Dhnadirek, says while the bill will legalise kratom for medicinal use, it also aims at preventing the public from abusing it. People under 18 years old, as well as pregnant women, would be prohibited from buying or selling kratom. The plant products would be banned from areas that are typically visited by adolescents like schools, dormitories, public parks, zoos, amusement parks and online markets.

Advertising kratom products is also banned under the proposed bill. Those who violate the rule face a 6 month jail sentence and a 500,000 baht fine.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Mister Stretch

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 3:50 pm

    Amazing Thailand!

    “In recent years, kratom has become popular in the United States and used recreationally with many tea bars offering different types of kratom teas and shakes.”

    But, here…

    “…while the bill will legalise kratom for medicinal use, it also aims at preventing the public from abusing it…Advertising kratom products is also banned under the proposed bill. Those who violate the rule face a 6-month jail sentence and a 500,000 baht fine.”

    Thumb down! Grind the people!

  2. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020 at 7:15 pm

    What do you expect from a country that banned the hubbly bubbly pipe.

  3. Avatar

    Ynwaps

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020 at 9:04 am

    78 years is a long time

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Read more headlines, reports & breaking news in Thailand. Or catch up on your Thailand news.

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

Drugs

Crystal meth worth nearly AUD$100 million found on Thai cargo ship in Sydney

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Maryland GovPics

Drugs worth nearly A$100 million dollars have been found hidden in heaters and barbecues on a Thai cargo ship docked in Sydney. It’s understood the drugs were discovered inside electric barbecue grills and water heaters.

9News reports that the Thai vessel was intercepted by police officers at Sydney’s Port Botany, with the authorities searching 62 large cardboard boxes after inconsistencies were noted in the consignment information. Officers found over 300 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine (ice), with an estimated street value of AUD$94.5 million.

The Organised Crime division of New South Wales Police is now investigating, alongside Federal Police and the New South Wales Crime Commission.

SOURCE: 9NEWS

 

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Drugs

Police bust 4 drug runners with 150 million baht of meth

Neill Fronde

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FILE PHOTO: 770,000 meth pills were seized in a 4-person bust.

About 150 million baht worth of methamphetamine pills were impounded in Nakhon Phanom today in a bust of 4 suspected drug runners. Police and military cooperated to nab 4 men, aged 21 to 36 hailing from Mukdahan. Nakhon Phanom is a northeastern Thai province that borders Laos, separated by the Mekong River. A press conference was held this afternoon at the police station to announce the bust.

Two vehicles alleged to be part of a drug trafficking ring were seized in the bust and found to contain 770,000 pills of methamphetamine. A Toyota Fortuner was the first car stopped in That Phanom, with Bangkok-registered license plates. It was inside this car police found the meth pills, stored in fertiliser bags. Two men were in the car and taken into custody.

A separate team later picked up and arrested the other two suspects in a Toyota Altis with Mukdahan-registered licence plates. That car was acting as a lookout for the 2 men caught in the other bust and was intended to drive ahead of the Fortuner full of meth in order to warn of any police checkpoints upcoming.

The four suspects in the bust allegedly confessed to the drug smuggling, explaining that the meth had been snuck in long-tail boats along the Mekong River and into Thailand across the Laos border. They said they had done this same drug run a few times in the past and had delivered similar drug shipments to Thailand’s inner provinces. They were said to have been paid by a Thai man to transport the drugs, receiving 100,000 baht for their smuggling.

Police have been vigilant in apprehending drug shipments, confiscating around 5 million methamphetamine pills in the last 2 months alone.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Drugs

Thammanat Prompow is cleared to continue serving as an MP and cabinet minister

Thaiger

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Deputy Agriculture Minister, and Palang Pracharat ‘fixer’, Thammanat Prompow, has been cleared by a Thai court to continue to hold office in Thailand despite his previous heroin trafficking charges in Australia in 1993.

The Court maintained that, as the case was tried in another country other than Thailand, his conviction has no bearing on his standing as a member of parliament in Thailand. That same standard doesn’t hold for foreigners who enter Thailand with foreign court convictions, which are used to deny them entry.

55 year old Thammanat Prompow (also spelt as Prompao) has now been cleared to continue serving the Cabinet of the Palang Pracharat coalition government.

Fending off a censure motion in the Thai parliament last year Mr. Thammanat claimed, amongst other things…

“The thing the police and authorities in the state of NSW said was 3.2 kilograms of heroin, it was flour.”

His claims differ from the lab tests conducted on behalf of the convicting Court by the Australian Government Analytical Laboratories who were asked to analyse 3 kilograms of white powder that had been seized as evidence in the cases. The analyst was Phillip McKay who tested for “colour and solubility, chromatography and spectrometry”.

The tests showed that the powder was “impure heroin hydrochloride and at 74% purity amounted to a touch over 2.3 kilograms of heroin”.

The Australian Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, both Fairfax Media papers, reported in 2019 that Mr. Thammanat had pleaded guilty and accepted a 6 year jail term for “conspiring to import heroin” from Bangkok to Sydney. After serving 4 years he was deported back to Thailand. At the time he had the name ‘Manat Bophlom’.

In 2019, Mr. Thammanat, then serving as an MP under the Prayut Chan-o-cha government, strenuously fended off a censure motion against him and denying the serious allegations against him.

Mr. Thammanat, despite his tenuous grip on the facts relating to his 1993 drug trial in Australia, has also been able to shake off his political past as an MP in the opposition Pheu Thai party.

In the 2014 general election he ran for a seat in the lower house as a Pheu Thai Party candidate, the party led by Yingluck Shinawatra. That election was declared “invalid’ when the NCPO, under the leadership of General Prayut Chan-o-cha, seized power in May, 2014. Thammanat was ordered to report to the military-led National Council for Peace and Order at the time. 4 years later he joined the Palang Pracharath Party.

Opposition MP Teeratchai Panthumas, from the Move Forward Party, noted the Thai constitution states that a person is unable to serve as an MP or a cabinet minister “if previously sentenced to jail for a drug-related offence”.

Pichai Naripthaphan, Pheu Thai’s deputy leader, is quoted in Thai Enquirer

“…having a person associated with drugs to hold on to a cabinet position is disgraceful. It shows the low level of standard in the current government and the country because this would not happen abroad.”

Two weeks ago it was rumoured that Thammanat Prompow would be given responsibility to oversee the government’s coordination of Covid services and programs in Thailand’s southern provinces.

The Democrat Party balked at the prospect, threatening to walk away from the government coalition. The government backed off from that idea and the Democrats re-affirmed their support to remain in the coalition.

SOURCE: Thai Enquirer | Sydney Morning Herald

 

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