Thailand’s legalization of kratom has opened up new economic opportunities for Pattaya vendors.
The use and sale of kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) leaves were legalized Aug. 24, allowing anyone to possess and trade in the leaves without limit. People can also supply kratom leaves to industries.
The legalization resulted in more than 1,000 people in jail for possession of the former Class 5 narcotic being set free, another 10,000 charged with kratom possession declared innocent and countless plant and herb sellers going into the business to supply the stimulating leaves.
A row of stalls along Soi Sukhumvit 53 all now offer kratom for sale. People chew the leaves or boil them into teas. Common uses are to combat fatigue or body aches. Although with effects similar to an opioid, it can also be used – and abused – recreationally.
Kratom cannot be sold to minors under age 18, pregnant women or near schools and temples. Importers and exporters also require licenses.
Local sellers, however, don’t need licenses to bring the kratom from fields in Samut Prakan. And they report brisk business, especially during the current semi-lockdown when people have nothing better to do.