Kratom is an Ayurvedic herb which has been enjoyed as folk medicine for centuries in its native land. Aside from Thailand’s 1943 ban, the Mitragyna speciosa plant from which kratom is derived has remained legal across much of Southeast Asia.
Farmers in countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Myanmar regularly cultivate, harvest and export kratom leaves. This substance has become increasingly popular in the Western world, growing to the point where experts say it represents a multi-billion dollar industry.
There are more than 3 million Americans using kratom for a variety of personal reasons and while the FDA has not approved kratom for medicinal use there are countless proponents who say it has value.
As the Ayurvedib herb has gained in notoriety, independent business owners have added it to their inventory. Smoke shops, headshops and filling stations have begun stocking the stuff in both powder and capsule form.
Depending on where you live, you have likely driven past a tobacco store and seen a neon sign in the window, its bold text advertising Kratom in all caps. Many local proprietors advertise brands like OPMS and K Shot on their awnings.
On the Internet e-commerce sites have sprouted up left and right with kratom vendors selling kratom strains via their online stores. If you’ve ordered from one of their sites then you already know that shipping is only available to select states and municipalities.
One of the many states where people are passionate about kratom is Florida. That’s because kratom has become an herbal alternative to other, more detrimental substances. Many in the Sunshine State have brewed kratom tea when kicking a habit and have appreciated its allegedly restorative “aroma.”
But residents of certain Floridian cities need to be aware of where they stand with regard to kratom and its legal status.
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Yes, kratom is legal to sell, possess and use in the state of Florida. That’s good news for some, but not for everyone. If you happen to live in the Southwest, you may be S.O.L.
Back in 2014, Sarasota County passed an ordinance that outlawed the possession of kratom and labeled it a “designer drug.” This misguided designation was likely due to the controversy surrounding a smoke shop kratom brand that was cut with a synthetic painkiller.
Illegal sale or possession of kratom in the county is punishable by up to 60 days in jail and/or a hefty fine. Those who are caught carrying a kratom product are subject to a mandatory court appearance.
More alarmingly, other areas have started to take a cue from Sarasota. In April of 2019 it was reported by the St. Augustine Press that the St Johns County Board of Commissioners would be considering taking measures to regulate kratom after receiving a request by a community drug task force.
Thus far they have yet to ban kratom in the county, according to Denver Cook, legislative chairman of the St Johns County Polydrug Task Force. But this isn’t to say that statutes couldn’t change in the year ahead.
As we enter the 20th year of the new millennium, kratom continues to be demonized in the media and with every related hospitalization kratom becomes a hot button issue among legislators.
Luckily for those who wish to purchase kratom in Florida, it is largely unregulated throughout the state. Kratom is legal in Miami and other metropolitan areas where it has become a mainstay in kava bars and paraphernalia shops.
The Mitragyna speciosa plant has even been grown in the state by select enthusiasts who say the climate is ideal for cultivating live kratom trees from seed. Some kratom vendors even offer live kratom cultivars or Rifat kratom seeds via their online stores or brick-and-mortar shops.
If you currently reside in the Capital of Latin America, you can get your hands on some top shelf kratom products at places like Brickell Smoke Shop. This 4.5-star rated tobacco shop boasts vibrant exterior walls that hint at the Afro-Cubanic flavor you’ll find within.
Located at 13 SW 7th Street, Brickell Smoke Shop is easily accessible by the city’s rapid transit system. It’s just a hop, skip and a jump from American Social, so snatch up the kratom strains of your choice and enjoy a toss ‘n wash before digging into some good eats at Miami’s best joint for lunch and happy hour.
Brickell Smoke Shop is number one in my book, not only because they offer a variety of strains at competitive prices but, also, because their staff are among the kindest one could hope to meet. The air is always alive with eclectic music and lively banter. And if you’re a dog owner, you’ll be happy to know that this is a pet-friendly establishment.
Other top choices include the following:
The city may have gotten its nickname (“The Big Guava”) because of one man’s unsuccessful quest to find wild guava trees, but finding wildcrafted kratom leaf isn’t nearly as scarce. Tampa has more than 45 neighborhood spots that sell M. speciosa in various forms.
Twist Vapor Cafe on N Dale Mabry Hwy carries a five-star rating for its reasonable prices and outstanding assortment of herbs. Their kava and kratom teas make for the most delightful social atmosphere you could ask for. If it’s a kratom bar you’re after, Twist Vapor represents the ne plus ultra of the Boom by the Bay.
If you happen to encounter the Slight Petrol Mart on East Sligh Avenue, keep a safe distance as these cats have a reputation for stocking some shady kratom brands, particularly when it comes to kratom capsules, kratom shots and kratom extracts.
Other top spots include the following:
I always advise friends and colleagues to order their kratom from a trustworthy online source. Why? Because I’m very mindful of the issues that can arise when purchasing kratom products from a smoke shop or filling station.
Where convenience stores and headshops stock any number of iffy brands, online kratom vendors source all of their M. speciosa from select farmers in Southeast Asia. The very best vendors comply with GMP standards, regularly submit each batch for testing by a third party laboratory and disclose the results of those lab tests on their websites.
The problem with buying from a smoke shop or vape store is the lack of transparency. The packaging often lacks detailed information about contents or dosage. The proprietors of such shops often lack the knowledge necessary to answering customers’ questions. And, most alarmingly, some of them refuse to tell visitors where they get their products from.
All of this secrecy and ignorance can result in potential health risks such as the rash of cases that occurred in 2014 after users grew ill from taking Krypton, a smoke shop kratom brand that was cut with the synthetic painkiller O-desmethyltramadol.
By contrast, e-commerce sites selling kratom invariably provide customers with a 30-day money back guarantee as well as free samples. The best of the best will proudly admit to their ethical sourcing of kratom powder and their lab testing.
These consumer-friendly sellers place a primacy on purity and understand the inherent value of their customers. That’s why they give you a promise of satisfaction; if you aren’t happy with a strain they’ll refund your order or replace it with another product.
The following is a short list of our favorite online suppliers:
I’ve personally dealt with each of these vendors on a number of occasions and can attest to the quality and consistency of their respective catalogs. You won’t be disappointed if you spring for expedited delivery. On the contrary, you’ll usually be surprised by the extra goodies they include in your package.
I think you’ll agree that there are plenty of options out there for the frugal Floridian and the spendthrift speciosa fan alike. Just stay clear of Sarasota County and you’ll be A-OK. Be safe, be smart and be well.
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