The legal basis for drug-related offences in the Kingdom of Thailand?
Provisions for drug-related offences are defined in the Measure for Suppressing Narcotic Offenders Act 2534 for being ‘laws governing narcotics and laws governing active materials which have an active effect on the mind and the nerves. Commonly known substances falling within the ambit of the Act include the following:
Category 1 – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC – the active ingredient of cannabis); Gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB)
Category 2 – Ketamine; Ephedrine; Midazolam (Dormicum, Versed etc.); Triazolam (Halcion)
Category 4 – Alprazolam (Xanax); Diazepam (Valium); Lorazepam (Ativan)
The Narcotics is any form of chemicals or substances which upon being consumed whether by taking orally, inhaling, smoking, injecting or by whatever means will cause physiological and mental effect such as need to increase the dosage, having symptoms when in need of the narcotics, strong physical and mental need of dosage and the health in general would be deteriorated.
In Thai Law substances defined as narcotics are classified into 5 categories commonly known as substances falling within the ambit of the Narcotics Act include the following:
Category 1 = Heroin, Amphetamine, Methamphetamine, MDMA (Ecstasy) and LSD
Category 2 = Cocaine, Codeine, Methadone and Morphine
Category 5 = Cannabis, psychoactive mushrooms and Krathom Plants
For Category 1 Substances:
For Category 2 Substances:
For Cannabis under Category 5:
For Krathom Plant under Category 5:
The Narcotics Control Act 2519 (1976) designates the Narcotics Control Board (NCB) with overall responsibility for prevention and suppression of illegal drug use in Thailand. The Office of the Narcotics Control Board (ONCB) is the body which implements any resolutions of the NCB and under provisions of this act and competent officials have the following authorities of stop, search and arrest if:
1) To enter and search any place or dwelling place, providing that they have reasonable grounds to suspect that there is a person who they suspect being involved in the commission of offences relating to narcotics on the premises or there are illegal drugs on the premises or the premises are being used or are intended to be used in the commission of offences involving illegal drugs. Note that the officials must have reasonable ground to believe that delaying any search in order to obtain a warrant would result in the escape of the suspects, or letting the substances in question being hidden, destroyed or in some other way being transformed.
2) To search any person or vehicle if there are reasonable grounds to suspect they are carrying or hiding illegal drugs
3) To enter and search premises without a warrant (having reasonable grounds for suspicion) and order a person or a group of people to undergo “on the spot” drug tests (under provisions of the fifth amendment of the Narcotics Act
4) To arrest any person involved in the commission of any offence related to illegal drug
5) To seize any illegal drugs or any property being used or intending to be used in the commission of offences relating to narcotics or such that may be used in evidence
6) To search under the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code
7) To make inquiries regarding suspects alleged to be involved in offences relating to narcotic
8) Issue a letter of enquiry or a summons to any person or official of any Government agency to give a statement or submit an account, document or material for examination
The Act on Measures for the Suppression of Offenders in an Offence relating to Narcotics 2534 (1991) provides that two or more persons conspiring to commit an offence relating to narcotics shall be guilty of conspiracy and if the offence is subsequently committed, shall all be equally liable to the penalty imposed for such offences.
The above act provides for the forfeiture of all “instruments, equipment, conveyances, machineries or any other properties used in the commission of an offence relating to narcotics or used as accessories for producing the consequence of the commission of an offence relating to narcotics or possessed for use in the commission of an offence relating to narcotics,” irrespective of whether any person is convicted in relation to any such offences. Authorities may also ‘seize, restrain or confiscate the proceeds of drug trafficking’ in any case and additionally prosecute offences which took place outside the Kingdom if: