Laos Informs Thais that Kratom Remains Illegal

Kratom plants (Photo: MedMark Treatment Centre).

The Lao Department of Food and Drug Safety is concerned with the illegal use of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) in Laos.

The Lao Ministry of Health issued a letter to the Thai Trade Ambassador to Laos stating that the kratom plant remains prohibited in Laos. This includes growing, possessing, buying, selling, processing, and storing the plant, as well as importing or supplying it to Laos.

In 2021, Thailand legalized kratom, and more than 12,000 people who were convicted for offenses involving kratom when it was still regarded as a narcotic will be granted amnesty, Bangkok Post reports.

Recently, the Royal Thai Embassy also issued a warning to Thai citizens that it is unlawful to cultivate, import, or export cannabis to or from Laos.

Thailand has become the first Asian nation to move to decriminalize marijuana, although rules governing recreational use remain unclear.

In 2020, Thailand decriminalized the production and use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, with most parts of the plant no longer considered controlled drugs. However the parts of the plant most often associated with recreational use, seeds and buds, remained illegal.

Laos established a task force committee to investigate marijuana’s potential for medical use in 2019.

The committee, led by the Minister of Health Dr. Bounkong Syhavong, was to carry out a study on the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes as well as its economic, social, and political impact while ensuring compliance with international principles, the Vientiane Times reported.