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Kratom Association

Kratom banned in Thailand 1943, but do you know why?

When the legal availability of kratom is being discussed, we often see some reference to the situation in Thailand. True, kratom was first scheduled for control in 1943, but for complete different reasons than often assumed. In these years, the Thai government was levying duties and taxes from users and shops involved in the opium trade. As a result the opium prices were rising and users started to take kratom to manage their withdrawal symptoms. 

At the begining of the East Asian War in 1942, the decreasing income from opium trade forced the Thai government into action. They had to suppress the competition in the opium market. Making kratom illegal would recoup some of the loses. Police Major General Pin Amornwisaisoradej, a member of the House of Representatives from Lampang in a special meeting on 7 January 1943: “Taxes for opium are high while kratom is currently not being taxed. With the increase of those taxes, people are starting to use 
kratom instead and this has had a visible impact on our government’s income.” (1)
After World War II, the Kratom Act was never enforced with much vigour and for many years, kratom trees could be grown with moderation and their leaves chewed openly. In 1979, kratom was included in the Thai Narcotics Act, under Schedule 5 (the least restrictive and punitive level) along with cannabis and mushrooms, effectively reducing sentences and punishments from those intended by the Kratom Act. 

Source: Series on Legislative Reform of Drug Policies Nr . 13 Apr il 2011 "Kratom in Thailand" Decriminalisation and Community Control? By Pascal Tanguay
(1). Asnangkornchai, S. & Siriwong, A. (eds.) 2005. Kratom Plant in Thai Society: Culture, Behavior, Health, Science, Laws.

Kratom Legality Report