Junta moves towards decriminalizing marijuana and kratom

The ruling junta is set to decriminalize certain types of drug use and legalize there use in certain circumstances, the first country in Asia to do so.

The legislation, passed by the National Legislative Assembly in its first reading on Friday, will see marijuana and kratom use decriminalized. Not to be confused with legalization, decriminalization changes the way laws consider the use of the drugs from one that is criminal to a non-criminal offense, like a parking ticket.

In addition to the decriminalization, the government will also allow the use of both drugs legally under certain circumstances with kratom, in particular, being ordered to be allowed to be used.

Kratom, a plant that is native to Southeast Asia has a long history in Thailand and was only banned by the government in 1943. Despite being illegal, the drug is used by a number of hill tribes as part of traditional practices and in some regional areas.

Ironically, Kratom is legal in the United States and can be used for medicinal purposes including the treatment of anxiety, coughs, depression, diabetes, diarrhea, high blood pressure, pain, to improve sexual performance and to lessen symptoms of opiate withdrawal.

The move to decriminalize marijuana and kratom are said to be part of a push by the government to reform official drug policies and tackle the problem of overcrowded prisons. 343,657 people are currently in jail in Thailand, the six highest number in the world with 70 percent on inmates detained of drug offenses.