Justice Minister, Somsak Thapsutin said on Wednesday (December 11) that his ministry would propose new laws related to narcotics in terms of type and legal penalty, and aimed to exclude kratom leaves from the drug lists.
"To consider plants or chemicals as narcotics, the government referred to World Health Organisation (WHO)'s drug regulatory framework, which defined narcotics as having four characteristics," he explained.
First, narcotics must cause effects on the users' body like anxiety or severe dysentery, when they stop using them.
Second, narcotics have no medical advantage or have them slightly, and, third, those who consume it suffer from health problems, such as emaciation, weakness, and being nervous, and cannot control themselves.
Lastly, narcotics can cause an impact on society.
"Kratom leaves do not match those characteristics," said the minister. "Those who use them can stop using it easily, and the leaves can be used as herb to relieve pain, fever, dysentery, or diarrhoea. Also, it is better than morphine thirteen times in killing pain, and has a few disadvantages.
"Previously, Thai researchers had studied kratom leaves with Japanese researchers, and copyrighted two copies in Japan and two copies of America.