Thailand's government has just passed some Christmas day legislation that would legalize the use of kratom and marijuana for medicinal purposes. Larger quantities of marijuana being trafficked would still carry a death sentence within its borders and in nearby nations like Singapore which also execute traffickers.
Kratom Psychosis or Reefer Madness Redux?
The marijuana legislation passed overwhelmingly in the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) in a parliamentary vote of 166-0 with 13 abstentions. The new legislation would amend the Narcotics Act of 1979 and the chairman of the drafting committee, Somchai Sawangkarm, called it "a New Year's gift" to the government and Thai people.
Marijuana was sold as a traditional medicine in apothecaries up until the 1930s in Thailand. Recreational use of cannabis would continue to be illegal in Thailand as in much of South East Asia which has some of the harshest punishments for drug use outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and KSA marijuana traffickers can be subject to the death penalty, but Malaysia is also considering legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Anyone possessing more than 10 kilograms of "ganga" or "kancha" as it is locally known will be charged with possession with intent to distribute whereas possession of under 10kg can result in up to five years in prison and a fine of Bt100,000 (about $3,000 U
FDA Issues Another Kratom Advisory
The law change is significant for Thailand and the world at large. Claims that kratom caused psychosis were owed to a single study in Thailand that was misrepresented. Hallucinations, aggression and psychosis were noted in the subjects of the study. What was less often mentioned was that the 1975 study featured 2000 subjects who were kratom users who either were recent heroin addicts, opium users who had switched to heroin or current opium users. It had been theorized that part of the reason kratom was initially made illegal was due to the fact that it had disrupted the opium trade in the region.