Wisconsin seems to have a very traditional feel, from an outsider’s perspective. It always comes across as a rather inoffensive state. Their sports teams seem well mannered, and have a unique, family-oriented style of play which allows them good success. The Green Bay Packers, the only professional team owned by the public, even extend this to their business model.
Wisconsin seems to epitomize the orthodox mannerisms of the Midwest. But while other states in the region have become adopted a more progressive stance – LOL, says Indiana – Wisconsin has remained stubborn.
And for it, some have suffered, unfortunately. Wisconsin banned kratom in 2014.
Origins of the Ban
For a state renowned for its love of beer, Wisconsin has a rather striking double standard. They haven’t just targeted the kratom industry. Even medicinal cannabis, which has finally shrugged off years of taboo, is severely limited. Limited CBD use is the only aspect of medicinal cannabis currently allowed. And while the law has been amended to be more inclusive, it remains restrictive and underutilized.
This may represent a precedent which the Kratom community should take note of; we may need to be patient. Medicinal cannabis cracked open the door incrementally nudged things forward, and it may provide a glimpse of how kratom will be handled. Wisconsin may have an arduous path ahead.
As part of the American Kratom Associations national initiative to protect and improve kratom in America, progress was made in 2019. Mac Haddow, the AKA’s leading lawyer, presented the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). The KCPA is the AKA’s effort to preempt any federal mandates declared by the FDA in their own losing battle to ban kratom. It approaches each state individually and offers a system of regulations and protections for the kratom community, that the state government and kratom users are offered a level of comfort and protection, respectively.
Will Wisconsin Soften Their Stance on Kratom?
Wisconsin is notorious for complex legislation in regards to decriminalizing controlled substances, evidenced by its somewhat bizarre approach to ease in medicinal cannabis. Yet there is actually some reason to be optimistic. Joined by senator Curt Bramble of Utah, who has been a vocal supporter of the KCPA from its genesis, the AKA gave its pitch to the Wisconsin legislation. The State received the presentation well, as per usual. The American Kratom Association continues to impress with its proven track record of bipartisan support. The pitch centers around the safe track record of kratom, science backing up its medicinal potential, and its ability to help mitigate the disaster of the American opiate epidemic.
The deft approach is setting a healthy precedent. They brought in some high profile researchers and medical professionals to demonstrate a full analysis of kratom, its attributes, and what its legalization would entail as it pertains to public health. That this message continues to garner support wherever it is presented bodes extremely well for the kratom community, despite the FDA’s continued subterfuge. The FDA failed to get the support of the public and federal lawmakers, true, but they continue their battle. Thankfully, Mac Haddow and the AKA seem poised to handle them again.
Moving Forward: Setting a Precedent
Disenfranchisement is rife in the American conscious as of now; I know, I feel it, too. But an element that the kratom community can take refuge in is the consistency with which the stories of the public impact policy makers whom we so often feel disregard our desires. Dating back to the concerted, unified effort by the public during the 2016 battle to save kratom against the FDA, from the White House petition that collected hundreds of thousands of signatures to the widespread social media movement, the efforts of the kratom community are consistently making a difference.
So too did denizens of the Badger state step up. Two Wisconsinites took the stand – having the courage to tacitly admit themselves as outlaws – as part of the AKA’s presentation. They provided a moving and compelling testimony of how kratom has strongly impacted their lives for the better, by all accounts. Once again, the stories of the kratom community are powerful as they are ubiquitous; “Kratom has saved my life”. It is a constant refrain. The moving testimony sealed the deal for the positive momentum established by the presentation.
And so we move ahead, hoping to see kratom decriminalized in Wisconsin, though due to COVID, progress has been slowed. Regrettably, we cannot celebrate yet. We await official passage of the bill, and elsewhere, states known for their strict drug policies continue to decry personal agency in determining alternative medicines; Mississippi has seen counties and townships ban kratom, while the state mulls a full ban. Activists are resisting, but the American South finds a predilection for control. This is rather hilarious, considering how often the South lauds their independent, “Pull your own bootstraps” lifestyle.
You Can Help, Too
The AKA is clearly effective and they deserve our support. You can donate here. But beyond that, the kratom community must understand that they are being heard. The efforts forthwith will have a significant impact on the future of kratom.
Like in Wisconsin, let’s make sure we keep things moving in the right direction.
Peace and Love.