Kratom is an herb that is derived from the leaves of a tree that grows in Southeast Asia. It has been used by the people native to that area to treat a variety of illnesses and pains for thousands of years. Recently, it has become more popular around the world. As a result, legislation regarding and regulating its use has made its way to the United States of America and other parts of the world.
Is Kratom legal in the United States?
There are currently no federal laws regarding Kratom in the United States, but certain states and cities have made moves to try to control or ban it. Alabama, for example, has completely banned it and classified it as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and ecstasy. Other states to have banned it are Vermont, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Indiana, according to The Seattle Times. In some states, such as Florida, there is legislation in specific counties regarding Kratom.
Other states have considered similar legislation and the Federal Government has expressed that it may eventually get involved. The Drug Enforcement Administration has designated it as a “drug of concern.” This basically means that while it is legal, it can cause some problems if it is abused. It is classified as an herbal supplement, meaning it is not as closely regulated as prescription and other drugs. The FDA also wants Kratom to be banned. In 2017, the issued a public health advisory regarding its use. They claimed it has “deadly risks,” and even attributed 36 deaths to it. They did not, however, give a time frame in which they occurred or provide other details surrounding those deaths.
There have been several attempts at legislation regarding Kratom that have failed. This shows the public’s divided view on the benefits and dangers of the herb.
What Countries have Banned Kratom?
Worldwide, several countries have decided to ban or control Kratom. They include: Thailand, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Burma, Poland, Lithuania, Malaysia, Romania, Myanmar, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam. One of the main alkaloids found in Kratom, Mitragynin, is banned in Sweden. This was the result of the product Krypton, a commercial product containing Kratom, allegedly causing nine deaths. However, this product contained several chemicals and Kratom cannot be singled out as the cause in those deaths. Many of these countries have laws concerning the sale, importing of, and buying of Kratom rather than all out bans. In fact, the only countries that have banned it entirely are Thailand, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia.
It is somewhat ironic that Kratom is illegal in Thailand, a country in which it grows. The first legislation regarding Kratom in Thailand passed in August of 1943. The law deemed the trees to be illegal and required existing trees to be cut down. This was problematic, however, since the tree is indigenous to the area. In Thailand, Kratom is treated the same as cocaine and heroin.
The laws surrounding Kratom will continue to change in the United States as authorities get involved at both the Federal and State level.