Kratom cultivation, usage and possession were decriminalised after the law was amended earlier this year. The move was announced in the Royal Gazette on May 26, with the changes expected to take effect from Aug 24 onwards.
“From Aug 24, kratom will no longer be an illegal narcotic. As such, those convicted for using, possessing and/or distributing it will be cleared of legal charges,” said Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin yesterday (Aug 16).
He made the remark during a meeting with senior officials from the Narcotics Litigation Department, the Office of the Narcotics Control Board, Narcotics Suppression Bureau, and representatives of the Corrections Department and other related agencies.
According to figures by the Corrections Department, there are currently 1,038 inmates who are in jail on kratom-related charges. The lower court ruled on 22,076 charges this year and 50,834 last year. In total, 11,455 cases reached public prosecutors.
“If we fail to discharge inmates in prisons before Aug 24, they will be a victim of the system, and we will need to compensate them. Therefore, I ask all related agencies to expedite their release,” he said.
Pakorn Yingvoragan, a judge with the Office of the President of the Supreme Court, said all kratom-related cases currently being heard in court will be dismissed without judgement.
Those who are remanded will be released immediately, but inmates will still need to wait for a court warrant before they can walk free, which will be read online.
As such, Mr Pakorn asked every prison to optimise their internet connection to facilitate the readings.