The Kratom market in the U.S. keeps on facing repeat threats from government bodies. The FDA (Food & Drug Administration) first examined the herbal about 10 years ago. DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) enforced an emergency scheduling of Kratom in 2016. Those actions were temporary, however.
A public outburst has made the kratom ban appear on news headlines. Political actors have expressed their opposition to the substance, making DEA turn around their previous decision.
At that time, users of Kratom believed that the fight against Kratom was over. However, this was not the case. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), called the DEA to schedule the main alkaloids contained in kratom for the upcoming year.
Consumers were informed whenever Stat News has gotten those scheduling documents from DEA through the Freedom of Information Act, despite some pages missing. Stat News communicated with HHS directly on the matter, however, the agency refused to disclose the rest of the documentation. The agency further stated that the media channel received the original documents accidentally.
From the moment mainstream media outlets shed light on the story, the HHS weaseled on the matter right after. It also forwarded another letter to the DEA, taking back its former suggestion to schedule Kratom.
Still, even with HHS and DEA lying in the background, the FDA has been an avid critic of Kratom the whole time.
However, American federal agencies aren’t the only threat to Kratom.
Kratom Proponents Express Concern Over Indonesian Ban
Over the last few years, the U.S. Kratom market was struck by another threatening political ambiguity. However, the issue this time was from an external state agency and not a local one.
Many Kratom users may have been uninformed of the incident too. The FDA was using the same research propaganda to influence the Indonesian government. This has made some politicians in Indonesia want to illegalize the substance.
Back in 2017, the Ministry of Health in Indonesia suggested classifying Kratom as a Schedule 1 substance, despite being aware of the problems this decision would cause to local farmers. To compensate, it offered farmers a 5-year grace period before the Kratom prohibition was fully imposed in 2022. We believe that this window is too short to shift farming procedures.
Other Indonesian political actors realized the complexities this decision would spark. Some political forces in Indonesia even took a stance against the complete ban of Kratom. Again the main reason why, as claimed by the Indonesia Minister of Agriculture, is the disastrous impact of the ban on struggling farming communities. The Minister issued a ministerial order to classify Kratom as a medicinal plant in Indonesia, in August 2020.
The problem is that the decree would not be able to halt the damage of the Kratom sector as we currently know it. It could only go as far as to keep Kratom legalized for the medical market only. But, for Kratom farmers, the order was comforting.
Still, the Kratom ban kept on approaching fast.
Kratom Prohibition Deadline Gets Postponed Two Years
The American Kratom Association (AKA) stepped into action and made several trips to Indonesia. The Kratom advocacy group met with government officials, presenting them with lots of relevant scientific research that disputes the FDA’s claims. The country’s leaders were receptive to the data. Through negotiations, top officials of the Indonesian National Narcotics Agency (BNN) agreed that no Kratom restrictions would commence until 2024.
It technically gave the American Kratom industry two more years to purchase Kratom legally, and in that time, the AKA can continue to lobby Indonesian politicians for Kratom legalization.
AKA (The American Kratom Association) has jumped into action and visited Indonesia many times. The Kratom supporting group met with local government representatives, giving them plenty of scientific evidence that clashed with the FDA’s claims. The country’s officials were open to receiving this evidence. Through several talks, top politicians of the Indonesian Narcotics Agency (BNN) agreed that no Kratom bans or limitations would occur until 2024.
This has virtually offered the American Kratom market another two years to buy Kratom legally, and during that time, the AKA can keep on influencing Indonesian policy-makers for the legalization of the substance.
Sadly, Indonesia can still choose to ban Kratom in the future. They have time to decide until 2024. Therefore, Kratom imports become ambiguous after this period.
The Indonesian Kratom availability constitutes nearly all the whole supply in the market. All the other countries where Kratom is produced naturally have legal restrictions against the trade of the herb.
With Indonesia being the sole lawful mass Kratom producer, a Kratom ban in the nation would crumble the worldwide Kratom sector. However, this risk has been kind of controlled lately by an uncertain nation.
Thailand banned the growing of the herb in 1943, categorizing it as a restricted substance later in 1979. The nation has had an unpredictable affair with the Kratom tree. Fortunately, that upheaval is finally over.
Thailand Considers Capitalizing On the Kratom Market
The connection between Thailand and Kratom seems to be repairing. In 2018, Thailand became the first S.E Asian nation to legalize medical cannabis. Thai regulations have also made Kratom legal for medical aims as well, however, it only enabled sales to those with licenses from the state.
Soon after, the Thai government allowed a few villages to grow Kratom on an experimental level in 2020. The trial period was a hit because Thailand finally revoked its position on the Kratom herbal in August 2021. Now, the government has legalized Kratom across the whole nation!
Still, many regulations limit the exportation of Kratom on a commercial basis. Only approved suppliers can legally sell it for medical uses. Until that regulation gets updated, an obstacle emerges for local farmers that wish to compete with Indonesian providers.
Justice Minister Somsak urged policy-makers to reform those regulations promptly. The Minister of Justice desires to see his farmers capitalize on the crops.
The kratom sector has another potential nation as a kratom producer and exporter. This could also make Indonesian politicians change their position on the ban. Previously Indonesia was monopolizing the kratom industry, however, other Asian countries nearby want a stake in that market, and governments rarely allocate funds for this purpose. Impressively, the prospects of kratom may be safe with S.E Asia.
Another Potential Kratom Ban Imposed By the WHO
Sadly, a new threat appears on the scene. WHO (World Health Organization) hosted an Expert Committee on Drug Dependence (ECDD) meetings in 2021. One of the topics of discussion was to carry out a preview of kratom through the week-lasting process. The outcomes of that review are not known yet. The ECDD must examine all the data from UN member states before reaching a consensus. This phase can take quite some time.
Fortunately, the American Kratom Association (AKA) was present for public demonstrations to the committee regarding Kratom. According to their sources, all speakers who participated stood together against the menace of a kratom ban.
A kratom pre-view at ECDD may have two possible outcomes. At the best, the committee will decide to cancel future talks about the substance and leave the herb as it is. That’s what the whole kratom community anticipates will happen. At the worst, the experts will call for a more critical review of the substance in some time in the future.
Still, that wouldn’t be a disaster, either. This only implies another ECDD would examine Kratom for the prospect to schedule it. However, that offers us more time to plan a battle against the plant. The Kratom community is expected to fight for their plant all the way.