The State of Kratom Legislature in the U.S.

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September 21, 2020 0 Comments

Many people, especially Americans, might view kratom as a relatively new development that really only became popular in the last couple of decades. However, this substance has existed in Southeast Asian cultures for centuries, with the reception to it by these varying government organizations changing a lot from country to country.

In America, there has very much been a divide between the public opinion of kratom and its treatment from the government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). So to help make it more clear for the average consumer, here is a breakdown of the current state of the legislature surrounding kratom within the United States.

Push to Make Kratom a Schedule I Substance

Over the last few years, the FDA has been strongly encouraging the DEA to officially list kratom as a Schedule I substance. By doing so, it would put this substance alongside other drugs like LSD, heroin, marijuana, MDMA (ecstasy), bath salts, GHB, and many others that are not able to be easily accessed in the U.S. through legal means.

The latest big push for this to happen occurred in 2016 when the FDA and DEA were extremely close to officially naming kratom as a Schedule I drug. However, due to a substantial amount of public backlash, they quickly withdrew their intent to do so.

For now, the DEA seems to be relatively quiet regarding any attempts to be more strict on kratom sales and distribution throughout the U.S. However, the same cannot be said for the FDA.
FDA Restrictions Imposed on Kratom

The FDA is the main American government agency leading the push to get kratom more closely regulated and restricted. Their reasoning to do so has been fairly consistent over the years, with some of their main points being the fact that they say there is not enough clinical research regarding kratom and the impacts that it has on their users.

Without sufficient medical evidence, they are hesitant to officially acknowledge that it has any medical benefits or uses. But with kratom still flowing freely into this country through the many distributors spread throughout the U.S., the FDA has resorted to other measures of making sure that it is restricted until this further research has been completed.

One of the biggest examples of this also came in 2016, when the FDA issued their Import Alert 54-15. While it might not sound like a big scary event just based on the name, it is a move that allowed authorities to legally detain any shipments containing kratom products without needing to first physically examine them. With the assistance of this alert, U.S. Marshals have been able to confiscate hundreds of thousands of dollars of kratom products from various distributors throughout the country.

The FDA also continues to use other tactics to restrict the free flow of kratom. For example, in 2019, they issued formal warnings to two large distributors in the U.S. and listed selling the product as an unapproved or misbranded drug as the reasoning behind it.

Places Where Kratom is Legal in the United States

Unlike many other countries where the laws surrounding kratom use and distribution tend to be fairly unified, in the U.S. it tends to be taken on a state-by-state basis. While it remains federally legal, there are certain states that have enacted laws banning the use, purchase, or even possession of kratom products.

The current list of states that have banned kratom includes Alabama, Arkansas, Wisconsin, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont, and Indiana. There are also specific instances where states still allow the legal sale of this product except in certain cities and counties. For example, kratom is officially banned in San Diego, Sarasota County, and Jerseyville. But as we get more medical testing and widespread public support, this list should hopefully begin to shrink.

Author : Andy Cyrus