On October 12, 2020, the Thai Cabinet approved in principle the draft “Kratom Act.”

By way of background, kratom is an herbal extract that comes from a tropical tree that has stimulant qualities if used in high doses.  It was previously controlled under the Thai Narcotics Act because of its addictive effects.  However, following recent developments in the liberalization of cannabis and hemp in Thailand, the Thai government has also been considering liberalization of the rules regarding kratom. On March 10, 2020, the Cabinet approved in principle a draft amendment to the Narcotics Act, which was proposed by the Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) and which would remove kratom (Mitragyna speciosa (Korth.) Havil.) from the list of category V narcotics under the Narcotics Act. However, due to its properties and addictive effects, the Council of State (a government organization which performs consultative functions including drafting laws, by-laws, rules and regulations) is of the view that there should be a specific regulation for kratom once it is no longer controlled under the Narcotics Act. The draft Kratom Act was prepared to address this concern.

Some key elements of the draft Kratom Act are set out below:

  • The draft Kratom Act will not regulate herbal products, drugs, foods or cosmetics containing kratom, which will be regulated under the relevant laws on herbal products, drugs, foods or cosmetics, as applicable.
  • The manufacture, import, or export of kratom will require a license issued by the Secretary-General of the ONCB.
  • The draft Kratom Act will restrict certain access to kratom.  For example, it cannot be sold to persons under the age of 18 or to pregnant women.
  • There will also be certain restrictions on the place and method of sale of kratom, e.g. it cannot be sold in education institutions or dormitories, or sold via vending machines or online.
  • The advertising of kratom with the aim to induce the public to consume kratom will be prohibited.

The draft Kratom Act will be proposed to the Office of the Council of State for further consideration.  Subsequently, it will be sent back to the Cabinet for approval of the text before being proposed to the Parliament.


Panyavith is a partner in the Corporate and M&A practice group, as well as the Healthcare & Life Sciences industry group. He is currently among the first practitioners in Thailand to assist market leading cannabis companies and large Thai conglomerates with their investments, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and partnerships, commercial agreements, and other pioneering projects in the medical cannabis and hemp business. He has published various articles and has been invited to speak at various seminars on cannabis-related topics. Panyavith also works closely with the Thai Food and Drug Administration to help develop the legal and investment framework in this area.


Prim has been working in the healthcare industry for 20 years, and has provided consultation in regulatory affairs, manufacturing licenses, and product registrations with the Thai Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other related organizations. Her focus is in the areas of pharmaceutical and biologic products, food, medical devices, cosmetics, hazardous substances and advertisement review and approval. Prim has advised a wide range of clients on the requirements and duties of importers, as well as FDA compliance.


Teeruth is currently active in the Corporate and M&A practice group, as well as the Healthcare & Life Sciences industry group. He has assisted clients on general corporate and commercial issues, as well as provided industry-specific regulatory advice, including the legal framework for medical cannabis and hemp investment in Thailand.