Is Kratom Legal? Understanding Kratom Legality in Different States
If you’re tuned into the alternative medicine scene, you may have heard buzz about kratom in the last few years. This plant is in the coffee family and interacts with our brain like opioids but may carry more health benefits than either. Some people believe kratom can be a good option for easing opioid withdrawals as well as giving you a needed boost of energy.
However, if you’re familiar with this market, you may find yourself asking, “Is kratom legal?” The answer varies from state to state and even city to city. Read on to learn more about kratom and where you can legally buy, sell, possess, and use it.
What Is Kratom?
Before we talk about where kratom is and isn’t legal, let’s talk a little about what it is in the first place. Kratom is a supplement that comes from the leaves of a tropical evergreen tree, Mitragyna speciosa. This tree is a part of the coffee plant family and is native to several different South Asian countries.
Kratom has been popular in Asian medicine for centuries. Legend has it that Asian farmers used to chew on the leaves to get an extra needed boost of energy to make it through the day. But only in recent years has this substance started to get more attention in the Western alternative medicine market.
How Is It Used?
Because kratom is made from the leaves of the kratom tree, it often comes in the form of a powder. Manufacturers dry the leaves out, much as you might when making tea, and then crush or powder them. Some kratom powders also contain extracts from other plants popular in herbal medicine.
In the United States, however, you’ll often find kratom served as a tea. You can also find kratom pastes, tablets, and capsules, depending on your needs. Before you begin using any of these forms, make sure you talk to your doctor as certain supplements can interact badly with medications or conditions.
When people first began chewing kratom tree leaves, they did so looking for an extra boost of energy. And doses that are a few grams or less do seem to have this effect. You may find it easier to focus, stay alert, and socialize after a cup of kratom tea.
But the biggest buzz in the health world about kratom has to do with its potential use in managing opioid addiction. Some people believe kratom may interact with the same areas of the brain that opioids do. Not only can this relieve pain, but it may make it easier withdrawal easier for opioid addicts.
Is It Addictive?
The big question when using kratom as a treatment for opioid addiction is whether it’s addictive itself. It’s important to note at this point that the FDA is still studying kratom. There hasn’t been a large, reputable, peer-reviewed study of kratom that could give us definite answers.
Scientists believe that kratom may be addictive if used with enough regularity. One study showed that people who used kratom for six months experienced physical withdrawal symptoms when they stopped using the substance. There is also some evidence that a person may need to continue increasing their dose of kratom to feel the effects as they use it more and more.
Risks Associated With Kratom
Although kratom may have some health benefits, like any medical treatment, it comes with some risks. Because kratom can be addictive and you may build up a resistance over time, it is possible to overdose. You must always follow your doctor’s recommendations for how much kratom to use at a time.
There have been some rare cases of kratom users experiencing seizures or drops in blood pressure. If you experience these symptoms, as well as abdominal cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, fever, or other severe symptoms, go to an emergency room immediately. However, these reactions are rare, especially when you’re using kratom as directed.
Why Kratom Is Regulated
You may be wondering why a natural supplement would be regulated in the United States. After all, how much harm can a plant do? But because kratom may be addictive and can have adverse side effects, the FDA prefers to regulate its use to make sure only high-quality kratom makes it through to consumers.
There has also been debate about rating kratom as a Schedule 1 drug, the same classification used for heroin, LSD, and ecstasy. The DEA thought that, because kratom can be similar to opioids, it should be strictly regulated. However, a large public outcry from those who promote kratom’s health benefits stopped this ruling before it went into effect.
Federal Legality in the US
The United States has a complicated legal system that divides drug regulation power between state and federal authority. The federal government may make a substance legal on the federal level, but individual states can still ban it within their borders. The reverse is also true as we’ve seen with marijuana regulations in the last several years.
Kratom is currently legal on the federal level in the United States. The FDA continues to study kratom and has yet to release one overall ruling about whether they believe it is dangerous or not. However, kratom regulations can vary from state to state.
States Where Kratom Is Legal
Kratom is currently legal in all but six states across the country. However, seven of the other forty-four states have placed regulations on kratom purchase, sale, and use. The federal government does not regulate kratom since it is not listed as a scheduled drug, so in the following thirty-seven states, there are no regulating bodies overseeing kratom sales.
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
States Where Kratom Is Legal But Regulated
There are seven states in which kratom is legal, but the states have placed regulations on it of some description. Certain states have imposed an age restriction similar to the ones associated with alcohol and tobacco use. Since counties also have the right to allow or ban certain substance use in their jurisdiction, some states have specific counties where kratom is regulated or illegal.
- In California, kratom is legal everywhere except San Diego.
- In Colorado, kratom is legal everywhere except Denver.
- In Florida, kratom is legal everywhere except Sarasota County.
- In Illinois, kratom is legal for anyone over age 18, except for in the city of Jerseyville where it is banned.
- In Mississippi, kratom is legal everywhere except Union County.
- In New Hampshire, kratom is legal for anyone over age 18.
- In Tennessee, kratom is legal for anyone over age 21.
States Where Kratom Is Illegal
There are a few states where it is illegal to buy, sell, possess, or use kratom. Punishment for having kratom varies from state to state, but the consequences can be severe. Many of these states consider kratom possession a felony, and if convicted, you could face at least one year in prison and carry a felon status for the rest of your life.
Kratom is illegal in all forms in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin. If police catch you with any amount of kratom in your home or business, you could be arrested. If you live in one of these states, be sure to research your state’s specific regulations surrounding kratom charges.
2016 Regulation Battles
As we mentioned, the Drug Enforcement Agency tried to list kratom as a Schedule 1 drug in 2016. Drug schedules are meant to indicate how dangerous and/or addictive a substance is. Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have no medical benefits, a high abuse potential, and a high level of risk.
There has been a lot of controversy over which drugs the DEA lists as Schedule 1 in the past. For instance, while cocaine and methamphetamine are considered Schedule 2, marijuana is still Schedule 1. This means that researchers cannot study these substances to determine if they have medical benefits or not.
When the DEA announced that they planned to list kratom as a Schedule 1 drug, there was a huge public outcry from kratom proponents. Thousands of people protested, signed petitions, and called on Congress to overrule this scheduling decision. As a result, for the first time, the DEA reversed this scheduling after just two months, choosing instead to continue research into the uses of kratom.
Buying Kratom Outside of Your State
If you’re living in Alabama and are interested in kratom, you may wonder if you can hop over to Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida, or Georgia to pick up some kratom. There are also numerous reputable websites that sell kratom online. Even if kratom is illegal in your state, can you get in trouble for buying it elsewhere?
Most of the states that ban kratom don’t just punish you for buying or selling the substance in the state. They also punish you for possessing or using kratom within state lines. So even if you order kratom online or buy it in a neighboring state, you could still face felony charges for having it or using it back home.
If you want to use kratom, the only legal way to do it would be to travel to a state where kratom is legal, use it there, wait for the effects to wear off, and then travel back home. Even then, it’s a good idea to check on your state’s individual regulations as well as those of the state you might travel to. Otherwise, the other state could extradite you back to your home state to face charges for illegal kratom use.
Kratom Legality Around the World
Kratom laws vary from country to country all over the world. In some countries, including Ireland and Italy, kratom legality varies by region. Like in the United States, kratom may be legal in one city or state and illegal in another.
There are also a number of countries that have outlawed kratom entirely. Kratom is illegal in the following countries:
- New Zealand
- South Korea
If you plan on traveling internationally soon, look up the kratom laws in the area you plan to travel to. If you are traveling to the countries we listed here, you’ll need to plan on traveling with no kratom. If those countries catch you with kratom at customs, you could face international charges.
If you don’t see the country you plan to travel to on this list, be sure to research their kratom guidelines before you go. Check if you meet any age restrictions they require. Also make sure they don’t require that the kratom you have must meet a certain standard, including being produced in the country.
Answer, “Is Kratom Legal Near Me?”
Kratom is relatively new on the alternative medicine scene, and many people are still wondering, “Is kratom legal?” The answer depends on where you live, but in most states, you can buy, sell, possess, and use kratom with no problem. Talk to your doctor about how to incorporate kratom into your routine if it’s legal in your area.
If you’d like to find the best kratom products on the web, check out the rest of our site at Etanicals. We have kratom, kanna, and other botanicals to help you live your best and healthiest life. Shop our products today and discover for yourself the benefits of adding kratom to your life.