Even saying the word can make you cringe. Lobbyists.
In capitalist-inspired America, we often worry that the shadow of “dark money” influences our lives more than we’re comfortable admitting. The inevitable revelations granted by the digitized paper trails have given us a glimpse into the power that lobbyists hold. One of these lobbying groups, the American Kratom Association, has a significant impact on kratom suppliers and customers. This is the group that influences the policymakers in their decisions regarding kratom.
We can’t write lobbyists off as hucksters and charlatans looking for social capital handouts. And the AKA, especially, is proving itself a deft and formidable force when it comes to kratom advocacy. Learn more about how they work to keep kratom legal and accessible for all of us.
American Kratom Association’s Goals
While their primary goal is plain enough — kratom advocacy for its sustained legality and logistical support — the American Kratom Association actually works in a much broader framework.
Before 2016, the AKA was somewhat benign and obscure, but since then, it has moved to develop preemptive efforts to establish the foundation of a support system and keep kratom legal. The AKA achieved some instant star power when Paul Pelosi, son of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, served as the Executive Director during the scheduling crisis of 2016.
Without the kratom advocacy efforts of the AKA, which organized resistance on a grassroots level with a 300,000 signature petition to the White House and collected the support of over 60 bipartisan legislators, it’s hard to imagine a world in which kratom is legal in America today. Hard, but not impossible.
Tactics & Strategy
In addition to doing battle with the FDA — if battle is described as casually presenting facts in the face of baseless, alarmist claims — the AKA also takes the initiative on a by-state basis. Seemingly taking some inspiration from the medical Cannabis movement that gained steam (smoke?) in America by the late 2000s, the AKA created a legal and regulatory framework for kratom advocacy by which states can adopt protections from federal encroachment of the kratom community.
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act is an act that would protect kratom customers and the marketplace while also bringing about some much welcome regulation. The AKA is pushing this act in all states, but they’re most aggressive in the few places where kratom has been banned. Currently, six states have banned kratom, mainly in the aftermath of the 2016 spat with the FDA. Interestingly, many of these states reveal the stark ignorance of the ban in the language of their bill, flatly claiming that kratom is a “synthetic cannabinoid” or a similarly ridiculous claim.
The most astute tactic of the AKA in its dedication to kratom advocacy is to mobilize the community, from which they enjoy unilateral support and cooperation. The testimony of kratom customers throughout the nation has a resounding effect on legislators considering banning kratom or enacting the KCPA.
The AKA is aggressive and sees resounding success in their attempts to keep kratom legal, especially when compared to the expectations of a lobbying group trying to convince stubborn and ignorant American policymakers into admitting they made a mistake. When elected officials are forced to reckon with issues their voters are passionate about, they seem compelled to listen. The mobilization of the kratom community, and not chaotic bribery, is one of a few distinct traits that separates the AKA from other lobbying groups.
The Reach of the AKA
The American Kratom Association faces new threats to its mission of kratom advocacy. As the FDA recognizes their failed attempt to convince the public that kratom is a public safety issue, they seek to use their power as a federal entity to eliminate imports of kratom into America. By summoning such entities as the U.S. Marshals, the FDA can bypass the rulings of state judges. Now, the AKA has to pivot to deal with this new tactic, and they have.
In 2019, the AKA went international with kratom advocacy. They sent a delegation of respected medical experts and well-known U.S. legislators to Indonesia. Indonesia supplies about 90% of the world’s kratom and is looking for handouts by loosely threatening to ban kratom (something their economy simply cannot sustain). As shameless as the Indonesian Ministry of Health is, the AKA has no choice but to play along. In doing so, they are also looking to preempt the FDA’s latest attack.
Part of their goal was to secure long-term cooperation from the Indonesian government in granting open supply lines of kratom into America. Such audacity is needed in the face of the FDA’s tantrum. The AKA continues to demonstrate that it has more than financial motivation to succeed — it’s actually passionate about kratom advocacy and not simply a soulless vessel of political capital operating among other nebulous peers in Washington D.C.
How You Can Help Keep Kratom Legal
You can help in this fight. The kratom community played a massive role in the 2016 victory of maintaining kratom’s legality. The community continues to be heard in the state-by-state battles of the KCPA. You can also donate money to AKA to support kratom advocacy. They turn money into action!
The American Kratom Association is far beyond a standard lobbying group. It’s a movement.
While The Kratom Company is not affiliated with the AKA, we wholly support their kratom advocacy mission. Join us today when you reach out to see what you can do to make a difference.