With its ever-growing popularity and use, you must have at least heard of Kratom or found it online, in medical stores, or even in farmers’ markets throughout the United States.
However, such widespread popularity comes along with its fair share of scepticism. You might have found yourself wondering whether this popularity is indeed well deserved and whether the drug is safe or legal within the United States?
Medical experts answer the first and second questions quite easily. Being an addictive substance, the drug potentially carries a lot more risk, which outweighs most people’s benefits.
Moving on, the last question becomes a little tricky. The legality of Ketum depends mainly on where you live.
Read on to understand better how Mitragyna affects you and the variation in its legality throughout the United States.
The Confusion Regarding Kratom’s Effects on the Human Body
Kratom is made from the leaves of a tropical tree with the same name native to Southeast Asia (more specifically Thailand, Papua New Guinea, Malaysia, and Indonesia).
Traditionally, Speciosa leaves were used as medicines. However, in modern times they are now in use as recreational drugs.
People generally chew ketum leaves, use in cooking, or brew in tea.
However, there are also other applications of the drug available. Speciosa is now grounded into pills and even crushed and smoked like marijuana and tobacco.
According to doctors, Kratom attaches itself to the same parts of a nerve cell as Opioid painkillers. This allows it to produce the same effects and results on your brain.
However, there haven’t been detailed studies of how Ketum works and why.
Today Mitragyna is marketed as having special healing powers and even as an alternative to opioids. However, medical experts disagree that the health risks which come along with Speciosa make it unsafe.
States Where Kratom is Illegal to Possess, Sell, Buy or Use
Speciosa in the United States is highly unregulated. This means that the government does not regulate the safety nor quality of Mitragyna products purchased in the States (even online).
Because of the highly addictive and harmful effects of Ketum, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) considered declaring Speciosa as a controlled substance.
However, the DEA dropped this idea under the notion of allowing more time for scientists to study the substance’s effects more thoroughly.
Technically speaking, at the federal level, Kratom is considered a legal substance. However, some municipalities and states have opted to ban it altogether. Thus making it illegal to sell, grow, possess or use it.
Aside from that, others have imposed age restrictions. Here’s a rough sketch of the legality of Speciosa in the United States.
In Alabama, Mitragyna Was classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. A Schedule 1 controlled substance refers to chemicals, drugs, or substances that do not have an accepted medical use (currently) or have a high potential for abuse.
This makes it illegal for anyone to possess, grow, use or sell Ketum in Alabama.
Carrying out any such act is the equivalent of a felony in Alabama. In 2016, the State of Alabama banned the two most common alkaloids found in Speciosa (7-hydroxy mitragynine and mitragynine).
The ban was under the pretence that both of these alkaloids fell under the category of synthetic substances. Despite Speciosa’s natural origin, this portrayal of the drug is quite inaccurate.
Kratom is currently illegal in Wisconsin. In 2014 the State of Wisconsin passed a bill which criminalized the two main alkaloids (7-hydroxy mitragynine and mitragynine) in Ketum.
Ketum alkaloids were supposed to be added under the synthetic Alkaloids list. However, this would have been quite an inaccurate description. Thus, they were instead added under the stimulants section in Schedule 1 by the State of Wisconsin.
However, after some successful petitions and action in 2019, there is a very high probability that the State will remove the ban and will instead opt for a Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Speciosa is considered illegal in the State of Arkansas at the moment.
In 2015, the authorities in Arkansas amended their controlled substances act.
The authorities included Ketum as one of the Schedule 1 drugs in this act. Possessing, shipping, buying, or growing Speciosa in Arkansas is a felony.
Committing such a felony in Arkansas can lead to over $15,000 in fines or up to 20 years in jail. Other than that, over 2 grams of Kratom within 1000 feet of facilities such as parks, university campuses etc. can lead to another ten years in jail.
In 2016, the two primary alkaloids in Mitragyna were placed in the regulated drugs by the State of Vermont. This made Kratom illegal in the State.
The two Speciosa alkaloids were placed under both synthetic and hallucinogenic cannabinoid lists.
A newer bill was put forward in January 2020 to legalize Speciosa once again. However, the bill is still under review with the final decision pending.
Ketum is banned in Indiana too. In 2014, the Indiana Senate made changes to the Controlled Substances Act.
These changes included classifying Mitragyna as a Schedule 1 drug, efficiently making it illegal.
At first, the two main alkaloids in Ketum were declared as synthetic substances. However later the laws were changed, and Mitragyna was classified as a Schedule 1 hallucinogenic substance under Indiana State laws.
Speciosa is currently banned in Rhode Island. In 2017, Rhode Island authorities criminalized the two primary ingredients found in Ketum by placing them in the Rhode Island Controlled Substances Act. This effectively made Kratom illegal.
However, there is pending legislation within the State that can reverse the ban on the drug and make it legal and free to use.
States Where Ketum is Legal But Maybe Regulated
Aside from the ones mentioned above, Mitragyna is legal in every other State. However, being legal doesn’t mean that free use of the substance is allowed.
The regulations imposed on Speciosa vary from State to State, for example:
Speciosa is legal in Arizona. There was an incident in 2014 when a bill proposed a Kratom ban in 2014. However, it never came to fruition.
Other than that, in late April 2019, the KCPA was passed, which made it illegal for people below a certain age to possess the drug.
Mitragyna is illegal in the city of San Diego. Other than that, it is legal to possess, use, grow and sell Ketum in California.
Speciosa is legal in Colorado. Although the city of Denver prohibits the sale of Ketum, this is only so for human consumption.
Hence, it is still legal to sell Mitragyna as long as it isn’t intended for human consumption.
Ketum is entirely legal in New Jersey. However, this legality has seen its fair share of ups and downs.
In 2015, New Jersey introduced a bill to ban Mitragyna, but the bill never succeeded. Another attempt to reintroduce the same bill came around in 2018, which failed yet again.
Even recently, the State of New Jersey has tried to reintroduce the bill banning Speciosa (in January 2020), which is currently being considered.
The regulations imposed on Kratom in each State vary. To gain a better understanding of the restrictions imposed according to each State, visit here.
The Legality of Kratom in Other Countries
Even outside of the United States, the laws regarding Ketum vary. In some countries around the world, Mirtagyna is entirely illegal. These countries are:
For example, in other countries, Italy, Ireland, or the United Kingdom, the rules and regulations vary from city to city. For some other countries, the status of Ketum remains ambiguous, like, it isn’t known whether Speciosa is legal in China or many African nations.
In addition to these, Thailand has also reevaluated the status of Kratom. Hence, the drug might not be illegal any longer.
However, as the drug continues to gain popularity, more cities, counties, and countries may ban Ketum at any point in time.
Why Does the Legality of Kratom Vary from Place to Place?
Despite the medicinal use of Mitragyna in some parts of the world, it is still classified as an addictive drug.
The FDA and Kratom
The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has found no evidence to prove any of the drug’s therapeutic benefits. This has further damaged the credibility of Ketum.
There are a number of warnings issued by the FDA on the potential effects of Kratom which can also account for most of the bans in the varying states.
Examples of these warnings include:
1- The FDA has warned repeatedly of the dangers of Salmonella within some Ketum products.
2- They have also released test results which identify dangerous levels of metals in some Mitragyna products.
The other main reason for the varying legality of Kratom is due to its side effects. Researchers say that Speciosa has more negative effects than its potential benefits (which remain mostly unverified).
It causes problems such as Hallucinations, Euphoria, Delusions, Insomnia, extreme shifts in mood, and confusion.
Besides those mentioned before, the long-term use of Kratom can cause the skin to darken, weight loss, frequent urination, muscle pain, and constipation.
Mitragyna is responsible for seizures, liver damage, coma, withdrawal, hypothyroidism, psychosis, and death.
The active ingredients inside Kratom vary on a plant-plant basis. This makes its effects unpredictable and unstable.
In fact, such a variation of active ingredients leads to a greater risk of overdose.
The Media Perspective Towards Mitragyna
The mainstream media perspective towards Kratom has a large part to play in how most people react towards the product.
Speciosa has mainly been portrayed in a negative light with all of its side effects forefront towards the people. Such negative propaganda from mainstream outlets has led to a very low impression of the product in most people’s minds.
Pharmaceuticals and Rehabilitation Centres
Along with this, the status of Speciosa is only further hurt by the fact that major pharmaceuticals outright reject its use.
In fact, pharmaceuticals have been very vocal about their opposition to the product.
Furthermore, the drug has been marketed as being highly addictive by most rehabilitation centres. However, some sources tend to state otherwise. In fact, even rehabilitation centres are using Mitragyna to get rid of addiction and reliance on other substances.
Based on all of these facts, many States, cities, counties, and countries have decided to ban Mitragyna. By making Kratom illegal, they hope to protect their residents’ health from potential addiction and the negative effects of Speciosa.
Do Companies Ship Kratom to States Where it is Deemed Illegal?
Companies do ship Kratom to most States, regardless of whether it is illegal there or not.
The smuggling of Kratom, just like any other drug, occurs widely throughout the world.
Despite the ban, some countries do allow the use of Kratom in human consumption only for medical purposes or research.
For example, countries such as Finland, Denmark, and Norway have allowed their people to use Kratom with a provided prescription.
Though Kratom is a contentious substance, it is still legal in many countries and states.
To avoid facing legal action, you should keep in mind the rules and ordinances of the State, country, or county you reside in.