Kratom industry pushes Pa. lawmakers to improve safety for unregulated product used by millions

HARRISBURG — Representatives of the industry surrounding kratom, a largely unregulated substance used by millions of people in the U.S., are pressing Pennsylvania lawmakers to set up rules to keep unscrupulous operators out of the business.

Kratom is derived from leaves of a tree native to Southeast Asia and has become popular for various uses, including as a coffee-like stimulant and to fight pain and anxiety. Mac Haddow, senior fellow on public policy for the American Kratom Association, said the number of people using it in the U.S. likely has surpassed 15 million.

In Pennsylvania, the state House in late June passed a bill that would ban the sale of kratom to minors after a series of safety measures on its adult use were stripped out of the measure.

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