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Kratom Legality: International and Domestic News

TKC newsletter on kratom, with legal updates, news from abroad, a word from the American Kratom Association, and more.
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-An update on Kratom legality abroad as well as domestic and how it may affect the United States

Kratom only reached the western world a few hundreds years ago. A Dutch merchant brought kratom with him as he returned to Europe from his travels in the Pacific islands. He observed kratom in many capacities, from the centerpiece of religious rituals, an aid to help workers get through their day, and as a medicine. Short the former, we find that kratom has retained its charms.

But in a cruel twist of irony, kratom legality is an issue in some of the countries from which it emerged. One reason is that kratom was being combined with illicit, dangerous drugs; this brought down strict posturing in places like Thailand, where kratom was being mixed with amphetamines and cough syrup, and officials reacted by banning everything that could possibly constitute a drug cocktail. Regrettably, kratom was among these substances.

International Law and Kratom

As kratom activism sees an upswell of support in the states, so too does Thailand experience a growing advocacy movement. Unfortunately, the impetus is similar. Thailand is combatting a brutal opioid epidemic, as narcotics are not as well controlled in some regions of the country. Thus, advocates have gotten through to officials and demonstrated that a decriminalization of kratom is an important step in reducing the harm caused by opiates. There are thousands of anecdotal reports of former opiate addicts reclaiming their lives by using kratom to quit narcotics; similarly, many who worry they are headed down such a path due to prescriptions for chronic pain, or who feel that opiates are adversely impacting their life or are no longer effective in pain management, are turning to kratom. 

It’s been a long 78 years in Thailand, but this summer, government officials in are planning to decriminalize kratom and recognize its medicinal value. After admitting to the rather wasteful spending millions of baht (dollars) prosecuting kratom users – not to mention the staggering humanitarian cost of heaping legal issues on people using a rather innocuous substance – the Thai Minister of Justice has pushed through the law allowing kratom for medical use. While not a comprehensive decriminalization, the importance of this step cannot be understated. First, it allows kratom to be accessible for those who need it medicinally. This not only has the potential to save lives in the battle against the global opiate epidemic, but greatly improve the quality of life of those who battle chronic pain, mood disorders, or insomnia.

A Kratom Farm in the Pacific Islands.
A Kratom Farm in the Pacific Islands.

This step will also allow kratom to be studied, and who better to study kratom than the people who only only tend to the forests which grow kratom, but have been using it for longer than anyone else? The hope is that rigorous scientific studies occur and this information is disseminated globally. Furthermore, the effectiveness of various medicinal applications of kratom can be studied by Thai health officials, helping craft a better understanding of how kratom can best help those who could benefit from it. 

International Kratom News: Indonesia and Kratom exports

Indonesia is a significant producer of kratom, exporting a substantial portion of the world’s kratom product. Currently, the FDA is attempting to pressure American shipping industries into a cessation of kratom imports from Indonesia; this would be an enormous blow to the kratom community in the United States. Even if alternative sources were found from another country, it would set a dangerous precedent and likely mark a subjugation of shipping companies to the misguided whims of the FDA. 

The FDA does not have this authority. It is a cleat attempt to strong arm free market commerce, and it is a tacit admission on the part of the FDA that they are keenly aware of their failing mission here in America to ban kratom. Millions of Americans use kratom every day. Whether recreationally or medicinally, kratom is a key component to many Americans daily lives; forgetting any specific motives as to why an individual may want to use kratom, it is simply unfathomable that the FDA is still trying to prosecute the ‘War on Drugs’. This ‘War’ is not on drugs; it is on people who use drugs, and though we could hardly call kratom a drug, this 60 year crusade is simply exhausted and the American people are tired of being morally berated by institutions who pedal opiates and have no concern over an actual epidemic which claims tens of thousands of American lives each year. Meanwhile, kratom has no recorded fatalities, and yet the FDA cannot help themselves. Knowing full good and well that another attempt to ban kratom in America would lead to an even more humiliating defeat than in 2016, the FDA is turning its tactics to attempt to cut off the supply, that they may preempt any attempts at changing legislation. It’s a complicated scenario, and it does not necessarily mean that kratom is about to disappear from America, but it is worrisome. 

kratom tea
Have you tried Kratom Tea?

More Kratom News:

-Opiate related deaths have spiked in over half of American states during the pandemic. Partially as a response to this, the CDC is opening a forum in order to pursue alternate means to opiate use. This could be a crucial avenue to giving kratom validity in the eyes of skeptics. Kratoms greatest utility could arguably be as a tool to reduce the harm of the opiate epidemic.

You can participate in the study here.

-In the first stage of the aforementioned forum, in mid-June, the CDC was flooded with comments from kratom users. Their claims are difficult to ignore for sensible institutions not controlled by greed or corruption. Thus, the CDC will begin to see kratom as viable in aiding in the fight against the opiate epidemic. To the kratom community, I say this: Our voices are being heard. We were heard in 2016; we are heard now. We must remain vigilant and united. We must continue to fight. The American Kratom Association is leading the fight and making important strides with the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, but we must make our voices heard when given the opportunity. Remember, for the first time in history, the DEA backed down from a scheduling plan in response to the public uproar in response to the FDA’s request; people spoke, legislators listened, and a bipartisan, national effort so resoundingly portrayed the people’s sentiment that the DEA and FDA had no choice but to listen. So keep at it, guys.

-Nevada has recently proposed a law that would ban kratom. This is in direct contrast to the recent passage of the Kratom Consumer Protection Act. The law does not have popular support, and is being pushed by the board of pharmacy. Now, let’s think about this:

Who stands to gain from kratom legality?

Nevada has passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.

The millions of Americans who use it for a variety of reasons, from pain management to treating mood disorders to staying off dangerous opiates. Not that people need a reason to use it: its a safe substance, and we are the land of the free, are we not?

Who stands to lose from kratom legality?

Pharmaceutical companies, who will see their golden goose of opiates dry up when people spurn the dangerous and addictive narcotic painkillers. Remember: there is a global epidemic due to opiates, and yet pharmaceutical companies are pushing them harder than ever. Kratom can replace opiates as kratom is safer, effective at pain management according to studies at Yale and countless anecdotal instances, and many users say more effective, but Big Pharma hasn’t found a way to make money from it. And so they want to pout, and try to ban kratom, lest they see their mammothian profit line shrink. Instead, they watch their narcotic user base plummet as people choose the safer option of kratom, all of them relieved to have found something that won’t kill them, and that is much less disruptive to every aspect of their lives.

So wait, Andrew: you’re saying that the only institution that would have an issue with kratom would be Big Pharma, who stands to lose money if lives are saved from the opiate epidemic?

And, oh, look…! It’s the Nevada board of Pharmacy, pushing the bill to ban kratom in Nevada. That must be a coincidence…! Right?


The dynamics of this situation are sickening. It is beyond egregious. I have no words to describe the corruption, the callous disregard for human life, the greed, pink faced malignity of spirit that would compel pharmaceutical companies to use the FDA as their lackey in prosecuting a war against kratom. They don’t give a shit that their narcotics kill tens of thousands of Americans a year. They just want our money before we succumb to their pills. The FDA stands to lose too much money if kratom replaces opiates wholesale; and it never would, because in controlled settings, opiates still have plenty of applications. Even still, the thought of losing even a single dollar pushes the FDA and their puppet master, Big Pharma, to wage war on kratom and the millions who benefit from it. I’m ashamed of my countrymen. What a disgraceful time to be an American. 

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more on kratom legality and more international kratom news. Information is power.

Kratom does not cure any diseases. Do not stop taking doctor prescribed medicines based on the conjecture of a blog. Do not take anything you read here as medical advice. Always consult with your health professional. If you plan on using kratom ,conduct thorough independent research. This blog contains unqualified opinions. Do not replace your doctor prescribed medications with kratom without first consulting with your doctor.


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Close up of kratom powder

How to Find the Best Kratom Online

Shopping for kratom online can be daunting. Because kratom still isn’t regulated at the federal level, it’s a bit like the Wild West. You don’t

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Gabriella Kenner

    This is great information. Cannot thank you enough Andrew for getting these articles out to the kratom community! Very inspiring.

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Nothing in this article is intended to be taken as medical advice. Always consult with your physician before making any choices about your health. Kratom does not cure any diseases. This blog does not suggest that any physician directed medical treatments or programs be replaced by kratom. Kratom should not be used as a replacement for any doctor prescribed medications. Consult with your doctor before you make any decisions regarding kratom. Do not mix kratom with any medications unless you have consulted your doctor first. This space encourages education, moderation, and caution when imbibing information, or any substance. This space does not encourage the consumption of any products as medical treatments, and does not suggest that kratom should be used in place of any doctor prescribed or suggested medicines. Always follow state, local, and federal laws regarding kratom, and all else. This space is intended as a place for educational discourse, contemplation, and conjecture regarding kratom.


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