Kratom legality is a sticky situation here in the U.S. Although the mitragyna speciosa plant remains unregulated in most states, state and federal politicians have been making moves to ban it. One state that has already succeeded is Wisconsin.
In 2014, the Wisconsin Senate passed legislation that classified kratom’s two main alkaloids—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine—as controlled substances. It was a brash decision and one that has had devastating consequences for those who wish to improve their mood.
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Controversial Senate Bill 325 managed to pass with bipartisan support and was signed into law by the governor just seven months after it was first introduced by Republican Senator Sheila Harsdorf and her colleagues on both sides of the aisle.
The bill in question lumps kratom in with both hallucinogenics and dangerous “synthetic cannabinoids,” neither of which kratom is. As of 2019, kratom is as illegal in the Badger State as bath salts or MDMA.
At first blush, this might not seem like a big deal to the casual observer. After all, it is only mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine that are classified as controlled substances, not the kratom leaf as a whole. Right?
Because mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the indole alkaloids that occur at the highest concentrations in kratom powder, isolating them from the leaf would pose a serious problem to those who manufacture kratom products.
For starters, it is a well known fact that these alkaloids are the ones most effective at providing relaxing and anxiolytic effects. Without them, kratom would not have the degree of efficacy that it has today.
The sting of Wisconsin’s kratom ban is already being felt by residents of the state. One 29-year old resident named Douglas told me that his life has fallen apart since the kratom ban was enacted. Prior to 2014, Douglas had been drinking kratom tea to help manage his PTSD after two tours in Iraq.
The last time he was deployed for active duty, Douglas lost a hunk of his leg during an incident with an IED. A substantial portion of his left calf was amputated and he had to have skin graft taken from the tissue of his back.
Since the incident, Douglas had been dealing with chronic widespread pain, anxiety and insomnia. After prescription drugs failed to relieve his stress or pain, Douglas read about kratom on an online forum and decided to order some from an online vendor.
“I’d been brewing up kratom tea every couple days for about two years and my life had started to turn around. Physical therapy wasn’t a nightmare anymore, my kids weren’t afraid I’d snap at them. I was a new man, really calm and pain free.”
After the bill passed, Douglas had to drive three and a half hours to a smoke shop in South Beloit, Illinois in order to spend twice as much money on kratom as he did when kratom was still legal in Wisconsin.
“It disrupts my whole life now if I want to get any relief. I’ve gotta make a whole day of it, find a babysitter, hope that my truck makes it back. By the time I get there and take the kratom it’s already dark out. It’s a real mess.”
The situation in Wisconsin reflects the growing problem across the United States. In a piece by the Huffington Post, 30-year old Casey, originally of Vermont, described how she decided to move across country to Washington when she feared that a kratom ban was mounting.
Casey used kratom to relieve severe intestinal problems and post-op pain from endometriosis-related surgery. She had turned to kratom after prescription pain killers dulled not only her pain but also her emotions, leaving her feeling depressed and suicidal.
“Though not a miracle cure, the…relief and energy boost I got from kratom allowed me to work toward living the life I used to live before falling off that cliff,” she said. “If kratom were a person, I would owe them my life.”
All of this underscores the inherent value of kratom, the Ayurvedic herb that has been used as a popular folk medicine in its native Southeast Asia for centuries.
Alas, kratom remains illegal in the state of Wisconsin. Under Wisconsin law, the manufacture, distribution and/or possession of kratom is a felony and users risk penalty if caught with kratom on their person.
If you currently reside in the state of Wisconsin, we advise you to refrain from procuring a live kratom plant or any products containing kratom.
Although kratom remains illegal in the state at this time, there may be hope for the future. Those who understand the science behind kratom understand its value as a natural supplement. Three years ago, Alan Bloom, professor of pharmacology and toxicology at the Medical College of Wisconsin spoke to his colleagues on the state’s Controlled Substances Board, saying that there was “no scientific basis” for kratom being scheduled as a controlled substance.
The Controlled Substances Board has the ability to deschedule kratom, something that they failed to do after Professor Bloom attempted to persuade them. Regardless, they maintain their ability to overturn this decision and, with any luck, future efforts by organizations like the AKA (American Kratom Association) may persuade them to do so.
Every American has the right to fight for what they believe in. You can exercise that right by standing up for kratom legality on social media and more. Let your voice be heard! Write your local representatives, start petitions like this one until this legislation is repealed.
#SaveKratom #IamKratom #StayCalmAndKratomOn
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