Thailand legalizes kratom, popular plant-based painkiller

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BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand has decriminalized the possession and sale of kratom, a plant that’s native to Southeast Asia whose leaves are used as a mild stimulant and painkiller. Kratom also has a following in the United States for its pain-relieving qualities. Thailand’s justice minister says thousands of legal cases for the possession or sale of kratom are being dropped. He says 121 inmates convicted in such cases would be released immediately. It’s Thailand’s latest move to liberalize its drug laws. In the past two years, the country has allowed regulated medical marijuana use. The aim is to ease pressure on its justice system and overcrowded prisons.

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