Even saying the word can bring a cringe.
In capitalist inspired America , we often worry that the shadow of “dark money” influences our lives more than we are comfortable admitting. And the inevitable revelations granted by the digitized paper trails has given us a glimpse into the power that lobbyists hold.
We can, in fact, describe the American Kratom Association as a lobbying group, something I’ve found myself subconsciously avoiding. But the reality is that, as so many groups do, the AKA lobbies for influence with our nations policymakers.
But to merely write them off as hucksters and charlatans looking for social capital handouts is a mistake. The AKA is proving itself a deft and formidable force.
And for this, we should be grateful.
The goals of the American Kratom Association
While their primary goal is plain enough – to advocate for the sustained legality and logistical support kratom currently enjoys in most the country – the American Kratom Association actually works in a much broader framework.
Prior to 2016, the AKA was somewhat benign and obscure. But we should be deeply appreciative of the preemptive efforts to establish the foundation of a support system. It achieved some instant star power then Paul Pelosi, son of the Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, served as the Executive Director during the scheduling crises of 2016.
Without the efforts of the AKA, which not only organized resistance on a grassroots levels with a 300,000 signature petition to the White House, but also 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 And Strategy
In addition to doing battle with the FDA – if battle is described as casually presenting facts in the face of baseless, alarmist claims from the FDA, who is concerned they will lose their cash cow of opiates to kratom – the AKA also takes initiative on a by-state basis. Seemingly taking some inspiration from the medical Cannabis movement that gained steam (smoke?) in America by the late 2000’s, the AKA created a legal and regulatory framework by which states can adopt protections from federal encroachment of the kratom community.
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act – an act which would protect kratom users and the marketplace while also bringing about some much welcome regulation – is being pushed in all states, but the few in which kratom has been banned has seen it pushed most aggressively. Currently, six states have banned kratom, mostly 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 – they will flatly claim that kratom is a “synthetic cannabinoid”, or make a similar ridiculous claim (kratom is a relative of coffee).
The AKA is aggressive, and in most cases, sees resounding success, relative to the expectations of a lobbying group trying to convince stubborn and ignorant American policy makers into admitting they made a mistake.
But the most astute tactic of the AKA is to mobilize the community, from which they enjoy unilateral support and cooperation. Much like in Wisconsin, for example, the testimony of kratom users in Nevada has a resounding effect on legislators who are considering banning kratom, or alternatively, enacting the KCPA.
Interestingly enough, it seems that 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 their mission. As the FDA recognizes their failed attempt to convince the public that kratom is a public safety issue – it’s not – they are seeking to use their power as a federal entity to eliminate exports of kratom into America. By summoning such entities as U.S Marshals, the FDA can bypass the rulings of state judges – like in one absurd case, where the FDA ignored the ruling of a South Carolinian judge and spent 300,000$ taxpayer dollars to destroy a large shipment of legal kratom.
Now, the AKA has to pivot to deal with this new tactic by the FDA. And they have.
In 2019, the AKA went international. They sent a delegation of respected medical experts and well-known U.S legislators to Indonesia. Indonesia, which supplies about 90% of the world’s kratom, is looking for handouts by loosely threatening to ban kratom (something their economy simply could not sustain). As shameless as the corrupt Indonesian Ministry of “Health” is, the AKA has no choice but to play along. But in doing so, they are also looking to preempt the FDA’s latest attack.
Part of their goal was to secure long term cooperation by the Indonesian government in granting open supply lines of kratom into America. By hook or crook, it is a bold tactic. But 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 is actually passionate about kratom, and not simply a soulless vessel of political capital operating in the nebulous of peers in Washington D.C.
You can be heard, too.
You can help in this fight. As mentioned, the kratom community played a huge role in the 2016 victory of sustaining kratoms legality. The community continues to be heard in the by-state battles of the KCPA. The AKA is always taking donations, and actually turns money into action.
In this alone, the American Kratom Association is far beyond a standard lobbying group.
It is a movement.
Peace and Love.
(We are not affiliated with the AKA but wholly support their mission)