Joint House-Senate panel amends bill to allow online sale of kratom
A joint House-Senate panel has amended the bill on kratom, making it now legal to sell the herb and related products online.
Dr Sanhapoj Suksrimuang, Palang Pracharath Party MP and secretary of the panel, said these changes were made when the committee met on Wednesday.
The panel had been created to iron out differences after the Senate made significant changes to the bill, which had been passed by the House.
The government had earlier delisted kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) from the narcotics list and decriminalised the use and sale of kratom leaves and related products. However, no law was enforced to regulate the sale. The Justice Ministry later submitted the national kratom bill to the House, seeking to regulate the business.
Sanhapoj said the meeting on Wednesday amended 11 Articles in the version that had been passed by the Senate.
For instance, Article 4 defining the meaning of “kratom” was amended to cover the leaves as well as tea brewed from the leaves and extract, the secretary said.
The panel also adjusted Article 9 to state the goal of the bill to cover the protection of people’s health and promote the processing of kratom leaves as products from the Senate’s version, which promoted kratom as an economic crop and only allowed traditional use of the herb.
Sanhapol said the panel also adjusted Article 24 to ensure sellers clearly the Public Health Ministry’s regulations, that the sale of kratom leaves is prohibited to persons below 18 years of age, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, etc.
The panel also changed Article 25, so the herb can now be sold online, Sanhapoj added. This article also says that the justice and public health ministers have the authority to decide where and how kratom can be sold, with details to be announced later.
Article 34 has also been adjusted to state that violators of Article 25 would face a fine of 100,000 baht instead of 50,000 baht.
Article 37, which states that people who coerce, force or abuse their power to force others to consume kratom will be subjected to a maximum of one year in jail and/or a fine of 100,000 baht, was also adjusted. The Article now says that anybody who forces people under 18, pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers and other individuals protected by the Public Health Ministry to consume kratom will face double the penalty.
Sanhapoj said the joint panel will hold more meetings to vet the remaining articles.