Thailand legalizes kratom, popular plant-based painkiller
BANGKOK — Thailand on Tuesday decriminalized the possession and sale of kratom, a plant native to Southeast Asia whose leaves are used as a mild stimulant and painkiller and which has a following in the United States for its pain-relieving qualities.
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin said thousands of legal cases for the possession or sale of kratom were being dropped, and 121 inmates convicted in such cases would be released immediately. Possession of kratom had been punishable by up to two years in prison and a fine of as much as 200,000 baht ($6,077) for quantities of 10 kilograms (22 pounds) or more.
The decriminalization of kratom, which involved removing the drug from the official list of controlled narcotics, is the country’s latest move to liberalize its drug laws.
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