Justice Minister Clears Up Confusion Over Recreational Drug Use

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin warned yesterday that recreational use of cocaine, morphine and opium is still illegal, despite the easing of some restrictions.

They remain as listed category-2 drugs and they have not been removed from the national list of narcotic drugs, the minister said.

He issued the warning after the Royal Gazette published a ministerial regulation allowing the sale and possession of cocaine, morphine and opium for medicinal and study purposes, and government use.

Mr Thepsutin said only kratom, a plant containing a natural stimulant, will be removed from the list. It contained only a small amount of narcotics. Kratom is currently classified as category 5 on the national drugs list.

Proper consumption of kratom, for example, no more than 20 leaves per day, would not have harmful effects on people’s health. Once kratom had been removed from the list, laws would be issued requiring people to seek official permission to grow it.

The Office of the Narcotics Control Board recently decided to allow the growing of kratom in 135 villages or communities. People in these places were allowed to consume it and have it in their possession.

Mr Thepsutin said the decision allowed leniency for people to chew the leaves fresh or boil them up in water and take them as a drink.

As for marijuana, Mr Thepsutin said: “We need to regard marijuana as a narcotic plant, and as a narcotic substance which requires strict control. “Extracts of marijuana should be open to easy access and use for medicinal purposes and research,” he said.