What country do you think of when you think of Kratom? There’s a good chance that the one that springs to mind is Malaysia, given that the name features so prominently in so many strains of the leaf.
We are firm believers in knowing at least a little about the product you are using, so with that in mind we have put together a brief history of Kratom’s association with Malaysia, from the beginning right up to the present day.
The Perfect Growing Conditions
Kratom thrives in fertile, moist soil, which makes Malaysia the perfect place for this ancient tree to grow. Thanks to the long rainy season and the high humidity, Malaysia produces some of the biggest Kratom trees in the world.
It is these favourable growing conditions that makes Kratom exportation so prolific in Malaysia – the trees produce an abundance of leaves thanks to their height and width, meaning that there is much more to export.
Use and Legal Position of Kratom in Malaysia
Malaysia might be one of the top producers of Kratom, but that didn’t stop the Malaysian government from banning both production and possession in 1952 under the Poisons Act.
However, Malaysian workers have been using Kratom for more than 100 years as a way to sustain them through long days working in the fields. In fact, the leaves were often brewed into a tea and used in ritual ceremonies and practices.
As the law stands, anyone found using or processing Kratom can be fined up to RM200,000 – almost $50,000 USD – and/or face up to 7 years in prison.
Yet despite these severe penalties, the use of Kratom in Malaysia is still fairly widespread, thanks mostly to the fact that it is an unregulated industry with little or no monitoring, which allows growers to continue their trade undetected.
So you might be asking ‘how, then, do we still have Kratom from Malaysia?’ The answer to that lies in the fact that, while it is illegal to process or use the product, it is still legal to export it in its natural state. This means that the whole leaves can be exported as long as they are not altered in any way.
There was some debate several years ago about whether the penalties go far enough; indeed, there were calls for more severe penalties for anyone found to be processing or using Kratom, but so far these changes have not been implicated.
It is possible to obtain a licence to be able to grow Kratom legitimately, but for the most part the industry flies very much under the radar.
What Does the Future of Kratom in Malaysia Look Like?
It’s hard to imagine many changes being made at the moment. Advocates have lobbied for it to be decriminalized, but while the current laws aren’t properly enforced (i.e. most people get away with it), nobody is pushing for change.
There is hope on the horizon, though. As Kratom continues to rise in popularity in other parts of the world, it is possible that the Malaysian government will want a slice of the pie and relax the laws in order to benefit from its profitability. If and when that happens we will, of course, let you know.