Top Federal Drug Official Pressed On Marijuana, Kratom And Drug Decriminalization At Congressional Hearing

Several congressional lawmakers pressed a top federal drug official on Wednesday about their concerns over marijuana legalization, though they seemed to signal that they view the reform as inevitable.

Members of the House Appropriations subcommittee for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies directed several cannabis questions at National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) Director Nora Volkow. Lawmakers also talked about the therapeutic potential of kratom, as well as broader drug decriminalization issues.

Ranking Member Tom Cole (R-OK) broadly asked Volkow about any “problems” she’s focused on with respect to cannabis legalization. But while he signaled he’s opposed to the reform, the congressman also said the “horse is already out of the barn probably” as more states adopt legalization and Congress moves to end federal prohibition.

Keep reading at Marijuana Moment

Does Law Protect Kratom Consumers?

With a shift in consumerism towards a more dynamic and natural outlook, it is time to cover grey areas like Kratom under laws. Apart from its popularity among users, Kratom is an excellent industry for investment and growth. The high craze for kratom strains like Red Horned kratom makes it imperative for authorities to keep a check. The last few years have seen a rampant rise in updates relative to the legal status of Kratom. While many blogs focus only on whether buying Kratom is legal or not, the current surge in consciousness demands to look beyond it. The laws related to commerce always protect consumers, and since Kratom is a product, it’s high time the debate to preserve kratom consumers is put forth.

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Federal Agency Explores Benefits Of The ‘Controversial Tree’ Kratom

A top federal health agency hosted a meeting last week to explore the therapeutic potential of a “controversial tree” commonly known as kratom, which supporters say has pain relieving qualities and can be used as a substitute for opioids.

As part of a lecture series, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) invited University of Florida researcher Christopher McCurdy to provide an overview of the science of kratom and what role it could play in mitigating the overdose crisis.

McCurdy, who previously served as the director of an NIH research center, titled his lecture, “Can a Controversial Tree Help End the Opioid Crisis?” He went into detail about anecdotal experience and clinical research, explaining how there’s promising evidence that kratom could help alleviate pain, reduce withdrawal symptoms from opioids and lower dependence on methamphetamine, for example.

Read more at Marijuana Movement

Kratom regulations advance in Missouri Legislature

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate endorsed legislation Monday requiring more regulations for kratom products.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, in the House, and Sen. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, in the Senate, will bar the sale of the product to anyone younger than 18, as well as require sellers to ensure that their products do not contain dangerous substances.

The legislation was approved on a 30-2 vote, with Republican Sens. Paul Wieland of Imperial and Jeanie Riddle of Mokane dissenting.

Kratom is a plant grown in Southeast Asia that affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine. It is often used as a dietary supplement for pain relief and a natural alternative to treat opioid withdrawal, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other health conditions.

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Here’s what Florida’s lawmakers didn’t do: notable failed bills

A bill by Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, who is also chairman of the Florida Republican Party, would have regulated a different drug, kratom, a medicinal plant with opioid properties. 

Gruters withdrew the bill after it passed two committees unanimously but then stalled. The Florida Kratom Consumer Protection Act was intended to protect people’s rights to consume the drug safely in Florida, Gruters said.

Sarasota County has banned possession of kratom, citing the decision by the U.S. Army and Navy to ban the drug. Their findings said the drug has addictive properties and causes symptoms like dry mouth, insomnia, anorexia, hallucinations and confusion.

Gruters said the drug is good overall and wants to prevent manufacturers from mixing the drug with harmful substances. The drug can be found in many smoke shops around the U.S. and is typically consumed in tea.

Keep reading at the Orlando Sentinel

National retailer CBD Kratom sues Radnor Township over ordinance

The prospect of a national CBD retailer locating in Wayne — the focus of community-wide unease over the last month — prompted the Radnor Township Board of Commissioners to take steps to block the shop’s opening.

In response, the retailer sued the township and its director of community development the same day. It hoped to stop the vote or, failing that, to get an injunction that would allow it to do business at the Wayne location.

The ordinance enacted by the commissioners Monday bans the sale of two controversial substances, kratom, and Delta-8, within 1,000 feet of a school, playground, or daycare center,  effectively halting the opening of the new shop by the company CBD Kratom. The ordinance also prohibits the sale, distribution, or offering of kratom or Delta-8 to individuals under the age of 21.


Radnor votes to regulate kratom, delta-8

RADNOR — Weeks after a store selling products called kratom and delta-8 opened in Wayne and was then ordered to shut down by the township, the board of commissioners has adopted an ordinance that would prevent the owners from reopening at that location.

This week, the Radnor Board of Commissioners passed an ordinance that bans the sale of kratom and delta-8 within 1,000 feet of a school, daycare center or playground. The ordinance also prohibits the sale of the products to anyone anywhere in the township under 21.

“[T]he Radnor Township Board of Commissioners (Board) hereby finds that mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, also known as Kratom, and Delta 8 THC, have the potential for abuse and can pose a health, welfare, and safety concern to the community and its residents; …

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Radnor moves forward with an ordinance on the regulation of kratom, delta 8

RADNOR — One week after the Radnor Board of Health said they’d recommend the township not regulate kratom, the commissioners are moving ahead with the introduction of an ordinance to regulate the substance.

But the proposed regulations will not be a ban, as some residents and commissioners have demanded. Instead, the new rules will limit where it’s sold and set a minimum age for purchasing the product.

A final vote on the regulations could come as early as the board’s next meeting on March 28.

Under the proposed ordinance, the sale of kratom and another product called delta 8 would be prohibited within 1,000 feet of a school, playground or daycare center.

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Kratom consumers oppose ban in comments to FDA

Many of their stories are similar. Homeless and hooked on heroin. Suffering from chronic pain and addicted to opioids. Unemployed with a grim outlook for the future.

Until these consumers started using a botanical native to Southeast Asia: kratom.

In response to a Federal Register notice related to an upcoming meeting of the World Health Organization (WHO), one man named Abe Stewart wrote to FDA that he suffered from “chronic pain” and turned to opioids.

“I became addicted, I lost my home and my job, and I was homeless for years dealing with an opioid addiction,” he shared. “Kratom not only [helped] me get over that addiction, but it also helps me deal with the pain so I can be a functioning member of society. Without this plant in my life, the pain would be so horrific that it would not be worth living.”

Read more at Natural Products Insider

Radnor Board of Health rejects regulating kratom

RADNOR — The Radnor Township Board of Health this week rejected a plan to recommend the township regulate the sale of kratom, a herbal extract that has been linked to numerous deaths over the past few years.
The Radnor Board of Commissioners asked the township’s board of health to review the issues surrounding the use and possible regulation of kratom after members of the public and some township officials began calling for a ban last month.

The controversy over kratom erupted in Radnor in February when a store called CBD Kratom opened inside the former Starbucks shop on Lancaster Avenue in Wayne. The store was ordered closed because the owners never received any building permits.

After a presentation and a discussion with public comments, David Simmons, chairman of the Radnor Board of Health, said he would advise against the township regulating kratom.


Bill that would have created ‘Florida Kratom Consumer Protection Act’ dies in committee

A bill adding regulations to the sale of kratom, a plant grown in Southeast Asia that the FDA says has addictive effects similar to morphine and other opiates, has likely died after failing to receive a hearing in its final committee stop.

Sarasota Republican Sen. Joe Gruters filed the measure (SB 1076), dubbed the “Kratom Consumer Protection Act,” in late November. It went on to receive unanimous support in two committees before hitting a snag in the Senate Appropriations Committee.

A similar bill in the House (HB 1071), filed by Pensacola Republican Rep. Alex Andrade, went unheard.

With just one week left in the Session, most Senate committees can’t meet without special approval from President Wilton Simpson.

Gruters’ bill aimed to apply to kratom products strictures similar to those placed on alcohol consumables. It would have banned the sale of kratom to people under 21 and required processors to ensure the products contain no dangerous substances.

Read more at Florida Politics

Assembly lawmakers abandon vote on bill legalizing the herbal supplement kratom after objection from police and doctors

MADISON – Assembly lawmakers on Wednesday abandoned a scheduled vote on a bill that would legalize an herbal supplement after objections from law enforcement officials and medical doctors. 

Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who supports the legislation, said Wednesday he didn’t agree with their concerns but acknowledged it was in limbo and may not have enough votes to pass before taking it off the calendar permanently. 

Under the legislation, the extract known as kratom would have no longer been considered a controlled substance in Wisconsin — one of few states that bans the product.

Derived from the leaves of an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, kratom acts on opioid receptors in the brain and is sold as a supplement, most often in capsule or powder that can be mixed with liquid.

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Assembly lawmakers are set to take up a bill legalizing the herbal supplement kratom over the objection of police and doctors

MADISON – Assembly lawmakers are scheduled to take up a bill this week that would legalize an herbal supplement over the objection of law enforcement officials and medical doctors. 

But Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, who supports the legislation, said Wednesday that the bill is in limbo and may get voted down on the floor. 

Under the legislation, the extract known as kratom would no longer be considered a controlled substance in Wisconsin — one of few states that bans the product.

Derived from the leaves of an evergreen tree native to Southeast Asia, kratom acts on opioid receptors in the brain and is sold as a supplement, most often in capsule or powder that can be mixed with liquid.

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Ohio moves to regulate kratom – used for pain, opioid addiction – but some say it’s dangerous

The Ohio House passed a bill allowing for regulation of kratom on Wednesday, a controversial move given that some medical experts have called it addictive and harmful.

Kratom is an herbal extract from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree and is typically taken as a powder or tea. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the extract can decrease pain, lead to pleasure or sedation and can help people cope with opioid withdrawal.

Currently, its use is not outlawed in Ohio, and it is sold in specialty stores, head shops, gas stations and online. But whether it’s safe has been a matter of debate.

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Mississippi House passes bill making kratom illegal

JACKSON • One day after marijuana became legal in Mississippi for medicinal use, the state House on Thursday passed legislation that would make the herbal product known as kratom illegal. “This is a drug that has no medicinal value,” House Drug Policy Chairman Lee Yancey said from the…

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‘War on Kratom’ sparks push for protection in Kansas

TOPEKA (KSNT) — Hundreds of Kansas stores sell Kratom, a controversial herbal extract from Southeast Asia that some people use to treat chronic pain. A new proposal being weighed by the state senate would ensure that the product is protected from harmful additives.

The substance has received pushback from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which has labeled Kratom unsafe for human consumption given its psychoactive and euphoric properties.

However, many people that advocate for its use have pointed to its health benefits, and say it could be the key to battling the nation’s opioid epidemic.

Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy for the American Kratom Association said, when used correctly, it can help people wane off of opioids.

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Florida lawmakers take first step in regulating Kratom supplement

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Kratom is in the coffee family and is an herbal supplement grown mostly in southeast Asia. Some states have banned it after the federal government raised questions about its safety.

But, the problem didn’t come from the supplement, but from what unscrupulous vendors laced it with, which Florida lawmakers took the first step Tuesday to prevent from happening again.

Kratom is legal but unregulated in Florida. It is a big seller at the Natural Life chain of stores.

“And every day, we get testimonials from people how this plant has changed their life for the better. And we hear it multiple times a day, every day,” said Gabe Suarez, the owner of Natural Life.

Suarez said he requires what he sells to have been tested by a third party to ensure it’s pure and safe. “You name it, we’re searching for it.”

Keep reading at NBC.

Legislature considers crackdown on kratom, a controversial herbal supplement

A Florida Senate committee on Tuesday advanced a proposal that could have major implications for the state’s kratom industry.

The measure, Senate Bill 1076, would ban the sale of kratom to Floridians younger than 21 and put in place a series of quality-control regulations around kratom products. It would also require kratom sellers to affix a label to any product with directions for suggested use. Violators would be subject to a $500 fine for a first offense, then $1,000 fines for subsequent infractions.

Sen. Joe Gruters, R-Sarasota, the bill’s sponsor, said his measure would help the state crack down on unscrupulous businesses selling contaminated kratom products to customers.

“As long as it’s safe and as long as it’s marketed for what it is, I think people should have access and have the availability,” Gruters said. “We just want to eliminate the bad actors, and those people that are turning the product into something that it’s not.”

Get the full story at the Miami Herald.

World Health Organization Decides Not to Call for Global Kratom Ban

Kratom advocates are cheering a new decision from the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) not to recommend that the plant-derived substance be internationally banned following a scientific review.

There were some concerns that the WHO’s Executive Committee on Drug Dependency (ECDD) would take steps to either urge international control over kratom—which has been touted as a natural painkiller that works as a safer alternative to prescription opioids—or recommend a critical review that could have ultimately led to scheduling following another year-long inquiry.

“People report using kratom to self-medicate a variety of disorders and conditions, including pain, opioid withdrawal, opioid use disorder, anxiety and depression.”

But in a report released last week, members of ECDD voted 11-1 to simply continue monitoring data on the health impacts of kratom over the next two to three years, rather than institute strict controls.

Read the full story at Filter.

Kratom rules still elusive in Missouri, but another push planned for next year

JEFFERSON CITY — A St. Charles County lawmaker isn’t giving up his effort to regulate a plant grown in Southeast Asia and sold across Missouri.

Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, said he will reintroduce the “Kratom Consumer Protection Act” for the upcoming legislative session after the plan died in the Senate this year.

His 2021 bill barred the sale of kratom to minors and said sellers must ensure their kratom products don’t contain dangerous substances.

“It’s just a basic consumer protection measure to ensure that the product is properly labeled so that consumers know what they’re buying and that it’s only sold to adults,” Christofanelli said.

People use kratom to relieve pain, treat opioid withdrawal, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other ailments.

But kratom has also generated public health concerns, including from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which discouraged its use in 2019 because it appeared to have addictive properties.

Read more at The Post-Dispatch.