Legality in Europe
Since the creation of the European Union, free trade and mobility of people and goods was established among the member states.
The European Union can issue general rulings and laws that the States have to abide by, leaving little room for unilateral rulings. When it comes to legalizing or banning a new substance, states have some freedom. There is, however, a mutual recognition principle. That means that if the use of a specific substance is approved in one member state, it should not be banned in the rest.
Check here the largest database on the internet regarding the legal status of kratom as of 2020 in each of the European countries and stay updated on any new regulations and developments.
Click on the country to learn more:
Outside the EU, countries are able to rule based on their own judgement. Most countries look up to the United States or the UN when facing a new situation that has no precedent in their law system.
Unfortunately, kratom has been banned in some countries. While there has been great strides towards accepting this plant, there is still work to be done. Read our list below for countries you should not travel to or be very careful with kratom.
Kratom is considered illegal in Malaysia under Section 30 (3) Poisons Act 1952. However, it is reported that possession in Malaysia isn’t a major issue.
Bringing kratom into Malaysia is could have you regarded as a drug smuggler. Quantities above a certain level are harshly punished.
Kratom is now illegal in Myanmar and Burma. It cannot be grown or purchased.
South Korea has made Kratom an illegal substance. It is heavily regulated with harsh penalties imposed against people who attempt importation and possession.
Medical use of Kratom and marijuana are legal in Thailand. On Christmas day 2019, new legislation was passed to make both substances legal for medical use. Recreational use of both is still ilegal and punishable by death. Kratom has been illegal since 1943. In 1979, Kratom was reclassified as a Type 5 narcotic (the least restrictive and punitive level). It was included in the Thai Narcotics Act along with cannabis and mushrooms, reducing sentences and punishments from those guilty under the act.
Kratom is strictly illegal in Singapore. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, two of the main active elements in the Southeast Asian plant, are currently considered Class A controlled drugs and are listed under the Misuse of Drugs Act (MDA).
Under Singapore’s MDA, there are 3 kinds of drug offenses:
1. Possession: The penalty for possessing drugs is a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of $20,000 or both.
2. Consumption: The penalty for drug consumption is a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment or a fine of $20,000 or both. The authorities have the right, under MDA, to request hair or urine samples to anyone who is suspected of drug consumption.
Possessing tools to consume drugs can be also punishable with 3 years in jail or a fine of $10,000 or both, regardless of the tests’ results.
3. Trafficking: The penalties for drug trafficking range from imprisonment and strokes of cane to the death penalty. The penalty will depend on the class and the quantity of the drugs.
While Indonesia is the main exporter of Kratom in the world, the use and sale of the plant are banned in the whole country.
Growing Kratom for exports is currently legal but not its local use or distribution.
In 2016, Kratom exports from the region of West Kalimantan reached $130 million in annual profits, most of these exports were to the USA.
In early 2019, some rumors were talking about a potential full ban on Kratom (including exports), making it a Schedule I drug and later on the same year regulation was passed regarding Kratom’s legality.
According to the American Kratom Association (AKA) “The Minister of Health in Indonesia has issued a regulation that bans kratom in Indonesia, including growing of kratom plants and exporting kratom raw material from Indonesia. The regulation provides a 5-year transition period for kratom growers to shift to another crop. The Ministry of Agriculture has sent a document in the past week to various Ministry’s in the Indonesian government recommending the ban on kratom be formalized at all levels of government”.
This would have a great impact on Kratom imports worldwide since 95% of the world’s Kratom supply comes from Indonesia.
The Middle East is an area of the world known by its harsh punishments for those who break the law. It is also an area with some of the most strict ani-drug policies in the world. Therefore, bringing Kratom into any country of the are should be avoided as much as possible.
Israel moved to make both Mitragynine and Hydroxymitragynine illegal and, therefore, Kratom is considered a dangerous drug and included in the “Dangerous Drugs” list by the Department of Health.
Under Turkish legislation (Anti-Smuggling and Organized Crime Department), Kratom’s main alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are included in the ilegal substances list and its manufacturing, sale, or possession are punished by law with imprisionament and fines.
In 2005, the Australian Drug and Poisons Schedule Committee recommended that Kratom & Mitragynine be grouped along with other schedule 9 substances. This imposed a complete ban on the use of Kratom. This law implied that the legal status of Kratom in Australia is that of a narcotic drug, the use of which is illegal.
Through this legislation, Australia has expressly prohibited the purchase, sale and even possession of Kratom products and Mitragynine. However this law doesn’t prohibit Kratom for research purposes. With the passing of this law, Australia has raised increased pressure on New Zealand to adopt a similar stance on kratom.
The situation of Kratom in South Africa is quite similar to the US a few years ago. Kratom has not raised much attention among the health authorities and there has not been any actions in favor or against its legalization and regulation for human consumption. The Drug and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992 does not include Kratom’s main alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hidroxymitragynine, to the list of controlled susbtances.
In a similar way, the equivalent of the Food and Drugs Administration South Africa, the SAHPRA (South African Health Products Regulatory Authority) has not issued any kind of communicate regarding Kratom.
Therefore, Kratom is not illegal in South Africa and it is not regulated either.
As it happens in many other countries, Kratom cannot be sold as a supplement for human consumption or as a substance with medical benefits.