If you’ve followed kratom news on social media, you’ve undoubtedly seen the ever-present #AKA. For those who don’t know, AKA is an abbreviation of the American Kratom Association.
Perhaps you’ve heard of them before, either from reading a news item about kratom legality or in a blog post about legislative efforts to pass a kratom ban. It behooves those of us in the kratom community to educate ourselves about the AKA and the variety of ways in which they are trying to help us.
Not only are they providing the public with informational materials about the science of kratom, they are also on the frontlines of the battle to keep kratom legal. In today’s post, we’ll do a deep dive into what the American Kratom Association is up to, why it matters and how you can participate in their important endeavors.
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Founded in Haymarket, VA, in 2014, the American Kratom Association is a registered 501 c(4) consumer-based non-profit organization that seeks to empower kratom users, promote global awareness, protect natural resources and advocate for change in the political climate.
It is the AKA’s belief that politicians and private entities often ignore the needs of their constituents and clients. By serving as a voice for the thousands of Americans who take kratom for their personal reasons, they hope to preserve every citizen’s First and Fourth Amendment rights.
In addition to their on-going efforts to exact change on a political level, the AKA attempts to protect Americans against poor manufacturing standards, and illegal search and seizure. With the financial aid of generous donors, they have been able to retain the services of a top shelf Executive Director who works in tandem with a third party CPA to guarantee compliance in all of their affairs.
It is the AKA’s firm belief that kratom is beneficial to those who use it responsibly. By educating lawmakers about existing studies into kratom’s effects, they hope to ensure the future of kratom as an unregulated botanical product. There are many facets to the American Kratom Association’s daily operations, each of which we’ll explore below.
The Virginia non-profit introduced their standards program based on Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) so that kratom vendors who took necessary measures to manufacture unadulterated kratom could prove to consumers that they are trustworthy.
The AKA recognized what so many of us had—the kratom industry had become overrun by shoddy business owners who failed to store their product in appropriately outfitted clean rooms and/or failed to submit their kratom to third party laboratories for proper testing.
Realizing the potential for contamination, they established the AKA GMP Standard Program which enables vendors to become AKA GMP-qualified vendors. By following their manufacturing requirements and passing one of their formal audits, a vendor can become a member in good standing with the non-profit.
This program plays a vital role in determining the future of kratom. After all, the more that adulterated kratom products find their way to the US marketplace, the more likely the FDA is to ban kratom and its alkaloids (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, respectively).
If all vendors submit to third party testing for heavy metals and other contaminants, the industry will flourish and kratom will remain legal to buy and sell. Responsible manufacturing standards are something that benefits consumers and sellers alike. Without quality control, none of us will thrive.
The following is a comprehensive list of the kratom vendors who actively participate in the AKA GMP Standards Program:
As more and more trusted vendors join the AKA’s fight, this list is bound to expand. As of this writing, there are nine AKA GMP Program pending participants including Amazing Botanicals and Laughing Lion Herbs.
Communication is key to the American Kratom Association’s success as kratom advocates. Through education and an open dialogue they endeavor to open people’s minds about the safety and value of the Mitragyna speciosa leaf and the palliative effects of its veins.
Kratom connoisseurs far and wide have been dreading the possibility of a ban by the FDA (Food & Drug Administration), but the AKA hasn’t let fear prevail. They have reached out directly to both the FDA and the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) about their allegedly unfounded opinion of kratom and its alkaloid profile.
Through outreach and donor support, they have been able to reach many bureaucrats on the Hill, inspiring constructive conversations which have cleared up much of the misinformation spread by the mainstream media.
The American Kratom Association frequently shares new scientific findings with their followers as well as with the powers that be. At the moment, they are waiting with baited breath for a response from the FDA. According to their homepage, it has been more than 488 days since they requested a meeting with the agency.
Despite all the stonewalling, they have celebrated some real victories over the last few years, effectively winning over a number of state-level politicians. But changing the perception of kratom can seem like a Sisyphean task considering the stigma that has come to surround the substance.
Last year’s Salmonella outbreak and the FDA’s subsequent recall of products from numerous well-known kratom brands left a bad taste in many people’s mouths. Fortunately, the organization has remained steadfast in their agenda and have continued to support initiatives to protect the plant.
Through their website, the AKA has fostered a conversation between individuals both well-versed in the subject and those who are new to it. Their forum affords the novice the opportunity to learn more by getting to know seasoned members who have experience with the herb.
Theirs is just one of various kratom forum communities online, but it is a viable choice for anyone who wants to bone up on the history of Mitragyna speciosa and the many ways in which it has helped people.
The AKA’s Science page provides visitors with a range of pertinent statistics, analyses, facts and scientific inquiries along with informational videos, relevant studies and letters to Congressional leadership.
Help the AKA help you! If you’re one of the countless Americans who find solace in kratom and its natural properties, you can show your support by becoming actively involved with the AKA.
You can reach out to your go-to kratom vendors and urge them to throw their hats into the ring. Ask them to donate to the AKA and ask them if they’ve submitted to the AKA GMP Standards Program. Remind them of the importance of third party lab testing and full disclosure of lab results.
On a more personal level, you can donate to the cause yourself via wire transfer or other methods. Be sure to follow the American Kratom Association on social and stay abreast of their latest efforts. Sign all relevant petitions, let your local representatives know how you feel and don’t hesitate to check out the AKA’s Advocacy Toolkit.
If you’ve got some spare time, maybe think about volunteering with the AKA in your state. Signing up is easy, you just give them your name, location and email address, and a team member will reach out to confirm your details and tell you how you can assist the organization.
Now is the time to take a “leaf of faith,” and show TPTB that you mean business. #SaveKratom
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