Bill to Criminalize Kratom in Louisiana Under Consideration


Image courtesy of ThorPorre, Wikimedia

Currently, Louisiana is considering HB452, Provides Relative to the Uniform Controlled Substance Law, which would effectively list a widely popular herbal supplement, kratom, as a Schedule I substance in the state.

Kratom or mitragyna speciosa is a tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. M. speciosa is indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea, where it has been used in traditional medicine since at least the nineteenth century. More recently, kratom has helped thousands of consumers seek relief from chronic pain, depression and other issues, including coping from withdrawals from substances such as heroin.

If passed, HB452 would place many former heroin addicts and patients who rely on the substance for chronic pain relief at risk, which would undoubtedly place a strain on local hospitals, drug rehab facilities, and medical facilities at a time when health care costs are spiraling out of control.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former heroin addict who has been in recovery for three years and regularly uses Kratom to manage the symptoms of chronic pain and emotional trauma, offered his concerns to Big Easy Magazine.

“I don’t know what I would do without safe access to Kratom. I’ve been clean for three years now. I have a family. I have a job. I’m a healthy, happy young man with many friends, all of which I’ve never enjoyed as former drug addict. Kratom has helped me manage withdrawals and has taken away the urge for me to consume alcohol and other substances. I’m not sure why the government is so laser focused on this drug when legal drugs such as alcohol kill thousands of people daily and destroy lives.”

Ashley Daily with Euphorbia Kava bar, which also relies on Kratom for a large portion of their sales told us, “the removal of kratom products would jeopardize my business, and the jobs of my employees. I’m almost certain that many folks in our community would quit coming to their perceived safe place, and begin consuming dangerous substances again. Louisiana HB452 puts lives at risk. It puts small businesses at risk. We cannot allow this bill to pass.”

The bill would also impact thousands of local businesses throughout the state who rely on kratom products as their primary revenue source.

After a recent CDC study relating to drug overdose deaths related to kratom, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has been advocating for a ban. The study, which involved over 27,000 overdose deaths in 27 states, found 91 of those deaths (or one half of one percent) to be due, in part, to kratom. However, in over 90 percent of those cases other toxic substances, such as fentanyl, heroin, and benzodiazepines, were also present in the deceased.

In fact, only seven of the kratom-related deaths were found to be due to kratom alone. Even so, the CDC stated that they could not conclude definitively in those seven deaths that Kratom was the sole reason for their death.

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The DEA has attempted to list kratom as a Schedule I drug before. The most recent attempt was in August 2016. However, after a public outcry, the DEA withdrew its intent to Schedule kratom. In February 2018, the Food and Drug Administration officially labeled kratom as an opioid.

By advancing HB452, Louisiana joins a handful of other states in pushing for the criminalization of kratom:

Kratom is currently illegal in:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Denver (Colorado) – banned for human consumption
  • Indiana
  • Jerseyville (Illinois)
  • Ohio
  • Rhode Island
  • San Diego (California)
  • Sarasota County (Florida)
  • Vermont
  • Washington D.C
  • Wisconsin

Scott Ploof is the publisher of Big Easy Magazine, and his guest columns about progressive issues have been featured in various news publications.

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12 thoughts on “Bill to Criminalize Kratom in Louisiana Under Consideration

  1. That’s unfortunate. Kratom is helping people stay off of heroin and other opiates. Without that plant I would be dead by now. Opiates put me in the ER a couple times but kratom hasn’t. A ban could be a death sentence for people in my position. Kratom gave me a second chance. It’s scary to think that there are people who want to take that away.

  2. Bryce, it’s scary that for your addiction, you are willing to risk innocent lives that can be harmed from the unlabeled and unregulated Kratom.

    Regulate and research Kratom. As a mind and body altering drug it should not be sold without medical approval and prescription by a pharmacology trained provider.

    1. YOU ARE DEAD WRONG!!! The medical establishment is a fraud!! There are many herbs out there that help or cure many ailments. You need to be educated. The drugs they are pushing are VERY harmful that help addicts AND most ailments! Plus the drugs they push to get you off opiods are more addictive than the ones people are trying to get off!!!! Do the research and get educated on what really is happening in the medical community. Research how back in the 20’s alternative medicine was curing people. The AMA was created so they could end cures so the establishment could profit off of sick people!! People like you really piss me off. Just believe what you’re spoon fed and go with the flow!! UNBELIEVABLE!! You’ll see one day when you get sick with something how none of these prescriptions work. They will make you sicker and you will not be able to function. You will spend thousands on prescriptions and get no where! Comments like what you just said are PURE IGNORANCE!! WAKE UP GET EDUCATED!!!! Learn the TRUTH!!! THE ESTABLISHMENT IS PUSHING LIES SO THEY CAN PROFIT OFF OF SICK PEOPLE!!!!

      1. Agreed!!!
        The medical industrial complex are keeping us sick for profit. 🤔 I wonder if pharma visited Rep Turner to push this ban. They chip away at our freedoms every day.

    2. Kratom cannot cause any type of psychosis. It is not addictive. It is does not cause any hallucinations and you cannot get high with it. I am a functioning capable mother of 3 , grandmother of 2, and married my high school sweetheart 37 yrs ago. This plant has been used for hundreds of years in Thailand with zero deaths! The pure unadulterated leaf cannot hurt you. It is when people add things to it that problems occur. It does not alter your mind or body. What you have commented comes under the heading of “fake news”. Please research the link at americankratomassoctation.com and click on follow the science! You will find on the site testimonies of police officers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, vets, firemen, congressmen, people of all walks of life.

    3. I am 70 years old and I have taken kratom for 5 years and no side effects. I use it for back pain and anxiety. Big Phama and FDA wants to leave us with only dangerous drugs which kill 1000,000 people a YEAR. Wake up, government intelligence is a oxymoron. They are in the middle of an opiod problem in which 50,000 people die a year. I counsel people on drug problems and they can use this plant to save their lives. Why would you ban a solution on drugs when we need this plant the most in the time of this country. Again. this fear and ignorance on the government part.

  3. IT’S ALL ABOUT BIG PHARMA AND PROFIT!!! This little plant has never been the reason one died. They got hold of adulterated kratom PERIOD!!! Kratom has been around for centuries and has never been a issue. The pharmaceutical companies who pay big bribe money to many including the FDA and DEA has started a war on kratom so they can patent the herb for Americans to purchase THROUGH THEM!!! They also can’t stand anything that cures or helps people. It’s all about keeping people sick…..there is NO money in a cure. If this plant is banned and taken away, this country will see a major uptick in suicides and OD’s. The FDA and DEA is spreading lies and misinformation about kratom. The deaths of the people had other hard drugs in their systems and/or had medical issues going on. Don’t believe the lies!! It’s a harmless plant and has built in it properties that WILL NOT allow anyone to OD or die. If you take to much….you’ll simply throw it up. That’s the beauty of kratom. Fight for the plant!!!! Its literally a life saver for millions of Americans.

  4. This is an interview I did for Kratom Science about how kratom helped me end a 20 year battle with alcoholism and drug addiction.

    Pure unadulterated kratom in it’s natural from has been scientifically proven safe and beneficial to consume. I started using kratom for pain and the depression that came with it. A month into using it I unexpectedly and unintentionally lost all desire for alcohol and any other substances which I struggled with for 20 years. I haven’t been this happy, healthy or sober since I was a teen. The Kratom Consumer Protection Act just passed in Georgia and a couple other states with several other states considering it. Once presented with the actual science and facts most lawmakers do everything they can to protect our access to this life saving plant.

    Plus, Kratom was not mentioned in the dea’s newly released list of “drugs of concern”. NIDA also changed their view on kratom from concerning to no serious threat to human health once they were presented with the actual science and facts.

    https://www.kratomscience.com/2018/10/24/kratom-stories-joe-turner-from-georgia/

  5. NEUTRALIZED!! At the last minute, the author of the bill Chris Turner (who just happens to own a pharmacy) introduced an amendment that says it would only take effect if and when the federal government decides to schedule it. This was largely due to the efforts of the American Kratom Association and their lobbyist, GA Representative (and kratom consumer) Vernon Jones. Rep Jones spoke and was very persuasive. GA just recently passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, which REGULATES, not bans kratom. For example, don’t sell it to anyone under 18, don’t make misleading or false medical claims and comply with Good Manufacturing Practices. I would love to see something like the KCPA passed in Louisiana, but for now at least, Louisiana kratom consumers are safe from a state ban.

  6. At the last minute, the author of the bill added an amendment that makes it so it does not take effect until the feds decide to schedule it. So until that happens, kratom is safe in Louisiana for now.

  7. I’ve known and heard of several people that went absolutely nuts on this stuff, my son included. I hope to goodness that it is banned, not only in Louisiana but everywhere.

    1. Kratom is very safe when taken by itself. For people who are trying to get high using it with alcohol and/or other drugs, that is when it can become a problem. Many, many people(millions in the USA) take it without any problems whatsoever, and it is a godsend for people who have medical issues with pain and/or depression. Educate people, do not ban a plant which has been shown through the personal experience of millions of people to be safe and effective in combating problems which many people are dealing with.
      As an example, I have known and heard of MANY people who have gone absolutely nuts on alcohol.Therefore, I guess it should be banned everywhere…..

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