21 Dec, 20220
Bipartisan Bill Regulating Kratom Introduced in U.S. Congress
The American Kratom Association (AKA) announced today (Dec 21, 2022) that the Federal Kratom Consumer Protection Act was filed in both the U.S. Senate and House. Senators Mike Lee (R-UT) and Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Congressmen Mark Pocan (D-WI) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral legislation. S.B. 5316 and H.R. 9634 will provide federal regulation to protect Kratom consumers from adulterated products and empower them to make informed choices on Kratom products that help their health and well-being.
Kratom is a plant that has been used safely for centuries in Southeast Asia and the United States since the early 1970s. In the last decade, Kratom consumers have increased significantly. Millions of Americans report using Kratom responsibly for various health and wellness purposes, including for an energy boost, increased focus, reduced anxiety, and a personal harm reduction tool for managing acute and chronic pain.
Protect Access to Kratom
Proactive consumer protection regulation on a state level has picked up momentum recently. Seven states have passed a version of the Kratom Consumer Protection Act. While these laws have been critical in protecting consumers in these states, this federal legislation will provide a clear policy for those who produce, distribute, and consume safe Kratom products.
“The introduction of this legislation is a landmark victory for Kratom consumers across the country,” said Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the American Kratom Association. “Research has shown Kratom to have significantly less potential for harm than substances with a much higher safety and addiction profile. In addition, the responsible regulation of Kratom products will open the door for continued research.”
“We encourage the swift passage of this bill so that the millions of people who consume Kratom every year will have these important protections in place,” said Haddow.
Kratom’s Legislative Battles
Kratom has a complicated regulatory history in America. In 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration announced its intentions to classify Kratom as a Schedule I substance based on FDA recommendations. However, that was rescinded by the DEA following concerns raised by scientists, policymakers, and advocates. In 2018, the Department of Health and Human Services formally withdrew a second FDA scheduling recommendation for Kratom, citing “the relative lack of evidence, combined with unknown and substantial risk to public health if these chemicals were scheduled at this time.”
In 2021, the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence reviewed all of the evidence available on Kratom and unanimously determined it did not meet the criteria for international scheduling.
The Benefits of Kratom
“I have heard countless stories of the benefits of Kratom experienced by consumers across the country, including veterans, law enforcement officials, and everyday Americans who credit Kratom with saving their lives,” said Senator Lee. “This legislation that we introduced today will be life-changing for these Americans. The FDA must fulfill its duty to protect consumers, not abuse its powers in ways Congress never intended.”
Kratom products being standardized and free from adulteration will also be critical for ongoing research. Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, testified last May at a U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations hearing that Kratom could be used as a harm reduction tool. In addition, research published earlier this year found that Kratom has a significantly lower potential for abuse than opioids. The University of Florida is also researching the potential of Kratom as a tool to help wean off opioid medications.
“Kratom can be a harm reduction tool for those struggling with opioid dependency across the country – it doesn’t belong in our broken drug scheduling system,” said Congressman Pocan. “This legislation will prevent the criminalization of Kratom consumers and distributors while promising scientific research is conducted.”
“This is a monumental moment for Kratom consumers,” said Mike Auerbach, founder of Kingdom Kratom, based in San Antonio, Texas. “The Kratom community needs federal protection of this herb so that consumers have a free and clean choice to utilize this remarkable herb.”
For advocacy support, go to the donate page on the American Kratom Association website.