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Phuket Poll: Is the kratom crackdown worth it?

PHUKET: The ongoing police blitz against all persons found in possession of, using, transporting or dealing in the local plant kratom has sparked an online debate on whether the ‘zero tolerance’ policy should be continued.

By The Phuket News

Monday 28 September 2015, 03:48PM

The people arrested for kratom have range from youths caught with just one leaf to the eleerly with whole trees in their yards. Photos: The Phuket News / file

The people arrested for kratom have range from youths caught with just one leaf to the eleerly with whole trees in their yards. Photos: The Phuket News / file

The incessant reports of kratom-related arrests has raised many an eyebrow in The Phuket News comments section, ranging from full support for the police to comments dismissing some arrests as nothing more than absurd.

Kratom is indigenous to Southeast Asia, and especially Thailand, where it flourishes naturally, and has long been used by Southern Thais as a mild stimulant; so much so that most grandparents of youths today find nothing ill of the habit of chewing kratom leaves.

However, the Narcotics Control Board has ruled kratom illegal as a Category 5 drug, literally making just as illegal marijuana. That debate still rages on in the US, though several states in the North American nation have already legalized the possession and use of ganja for recreational purposes.

In stark contrast, kratom’s counterpart in Northeastern Thailand, the famed betel leaf (called maak in Thai), as of today remains fully legal and untaxed due to its “cultural heritage”.

In light of this conundrum, The Phuket News asks its readers: “Which of the following views on the current drug-enforcement policy on kratom best describes you?”

Responses available are:

  • All drugs are bad, and kratom is no exception. Police should continue to crack down on users, mules and dealers.
  • Some drugs are bad, other drugs like kratom are less so. Police should focus on busting major dealers instead of mules and small-time users.
  • Thailand should consider ending its war on drugs completely, and instead reap the benefits from regulation and taxation.
  • I have no opinion on this and/or don’t know enough about illegal drugs in Thailand.

To cast your vote, click here.

The poll will run online until October 12.



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