Kratom is legal to sell, buy, and possess in Florida at the moment. However, there are still many efforts being conducted to make it illegal.
In April 2017, the last legislation against Kratom use was proposed. Kristin Jacobs, a Sarasota’s representative (where Kratom is already banned) put forward House Bill 183.
The bill supported that Kratom and its alkaloids should be added to the list of controlled substances in Florida. After only two months, the bill was withdrawn from consideration, and in October 2017, it was labelled as “dead in Criminal Justice Subcommittee.”
In 2016, many similar bills were also presented — SB 11, HB 73, and SB 24. Anyway, some were rejected, and the rest never made it through the committee.
These efforts usually were the results of anti-Kratom activists, as at least one death has been recorded in Florida caused by the inappropriate use of the drug. This has led to a ban in a few communities also including Sarasota county.
A local injunction was passed in the County in 2014 to rule Kratom as an illegal designer drug with a complete prohibition of its possession and sale within the county lines.
However, considering all the ongoing research on Kratom drug interaction and uses, tables can be turned anytime in the other parts of Florida too.
Only a few months back, in April 2019, St. John County’s drug task force wanted to push the ban on Kratom. Much to the public’s relief, after hearing 20 speakers defend the use of Kratom, the County decided to not go through with the ban.
A similar situation also happened last year, when Seminole leaders failed to release ordinance against Kratom legality, due to the huge communal outcry.
As a medicinal plant with psychoactive effects, Mitragyna Speciosa or in other words Kratom, has been the talk of the town for many years.
However, considering its several side effects and misconceptions surrounding its usability, history has proven quite dwindling regarding Kratom’s legality status.
Even after getting the drug removed from the list of schedule 1 drugs in 2016, the public is still in danger to see it banned in the coming years.
Every now and then, this beneficial botanical passes through verdicts deciding its use in America.
Currently, there are 16 million Kratom users in the USA. This is not much surprising, as the government is funding a lot of researches on Kratom and as a result, we see every third day a new update and news.
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are on a roll to classify this controversial drug again in schedule 1 category of controlled substances. The reason for this is the recent casualties that have raised questions about its dubious use and physical dependence.
Although Kratom is now legal in most of the US states and cities — except a few, namely; Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, Columbia, and Washington DC. The legality issue can be a huge problem, especially when being caught with it can lead to severe consequences in the banned states.
The Impacts of Federal Law?
Even though Florida is in complete support of Kratom currently, the US Food and Drug agency has always had its speculations regarding the use of Kratom.
Especially when we talk about federal enforcement, the decisions made by DEA and the federal government can impact not only Florida but all US states. DEA wants to make the drug illegal, and on the other side, FDA has already labeled Kratom as “a drug of concern.”
Despite the attempts of advocacy by American Kratom Association, Kratom is still in danger to be put in the category of schedule 1 drugs by DEA alongside Heroine, Meth, and Cocaine, labeling it as a harmful drug with no positive effects.
If this proposal is being put forward and accepted, Kratom will become completely illegal all over the country.
Even if for a moment, we consider that Florida will be able to pass competing laws in favour of Kratom usage — Federal law can win over state laws at any time.
Not only that but currently, the clause that can protect the drug laws in a state, is still up for renewal. It is, now, safe to assume that if the federal government proceeds with the ban, it inevitably will also be immediately effective in Florida.
FDA Concerns About Kratom
FDA has, again and again, issued warnings against the use of Kratom. From getting it almost banned in 2016 to the recent crackdown on two of the online marketers and distributors, FDA is entirely out there to regulate the drug in the most appropriate ways.
Only last month, FDA Issued warning letters against the false claims and unapproved selling of the Kratom containing products.
According to Ned Sharpless, the current FDA chief,
“Despite our warnings, companies continue to sell this dangerous product and make deceptive medical claims that are not backed by science or any reliable scientific evidence.”
Previously also, the FDA has not approved any use of Kratom, especially for opioid addiction and cancer treatment.
Furthermore, Kratom has not yet been supported as a treatment of pain, depression, and anxiety by the association. The drug itself has several side effects, including death and physical dependency.
In 2016, there were talks among FDA to put it in the list of controlled substances also. However, the public protest was so massive that the association had to back off.
Moreover, only last year, after conducting extensive research with the help of a computational model, the FDA found out opioid-like components and properties in Kratom. It has led to an establishment of no scientific basis to support the use of Kratom for medicinal and health purposes.
The Misleading Stories Published by Local Newspapers
FDA has always been quick to believe that Kratom is a deadly drug that has killed many. This wrong belief also fueled by misleading stories published by local newspapers in Florida. The death of Christopher Waldon in Hillsborough County, Florida was claimed to be a result of Kratom intoxication, which later was refuted by an analysis report by American Kratom Association as false claims. Dr. Babin concluded in the report as:
Waldron died with mitragynine, a potentially toxic amount of citalopram, and cyclobenzaprine (which is contraindicated in combination with citalopram) in his blood. Both of these prescription medicines contain specific warnings required in FDA labeling that, if used in combination, can cause coma and even death. Mr. Waldron also had left ventricular hypertrophy, an enlarged liver, and thyroid disease, which may have contributed to his death.
It is also necessary to consider that this death along with a few others was a cause of push towards Kratom ban in 2016 by DEA. Further, the prohibition in Sarasota County in 2014 was also due to such misleading and false news stories published by Florida’s local newspapers that made way for the officials to classify it as an illegal drug in the county.
Florida Drug and Law Enforcement Department Stance on Kratom
In 2015, Florida Drug and Law Enforcement (FDLE) Department presented a statewide intelligence drug report. In this review, they concluded that Kratom doesn’t propose any potential risk or danger to the citizens of Florida.
Contrary to the FDA’s warning, FDLE is clearly of the view that there still have not been any adverse health effects identified with Kratom.
Most of its side effects are related to the quantity of drug consumption. Nevertheless, this is a given with any medicinal drug or any substance ingestion for that matter.
Additionally, the report shares that it is difficult to estimate the numbers of patients arriving at the emergency departments of the hospitals with Kratom exposure. Despite all of this, Law Enforcement Department seems to be in complete support of Kratom usage at the moment.
What Should Be Our Main Concerns?
The attempts to decide legislation of Kratom are not a bad thing by any means. Your worries should not revolve around its legality status, but whether it is a safe drug to use at all or not.
When a particular bill is proposed in a state, it opens a discussion and a series of tests to analyze all of the aspects of drug usage and its side effects.
Although Kratom itself is a safe drug, its abuse and drug interaction with other substances can prove to be fatal. This has also been identified as the cause of death in most of the cases.
Moreover, failed legislation also provides an opportunity for the distributors to remove any stigma against the drug by clearing any misunderstandings related to the nature of the drug.
Where Kratom is Illegal In Florida?
Kratom is currently illegal in Sarasota County, Florida. In 2014, a bill was passed by DEA banning all designers drugs -like bath salts, synthetic cannabinoids, Flakka, and Kratom. These are all synthetic drugs imitating the mechanism of action and composition of other scheduled drugs.
Taking into account that Kratom is illegal in Malaysia, Myanmar, and several other countries, Sarasota County had put forward the side effects of Kratom, including its psychoactive function, to label it as an illegal drug.
This law has now made the possession and sale of Kratom within the Sarasota County lines as illegal.
Now, if anyone is found having Kratom in property, they are liable to a penalty of a $500 fine and imprisonment for up to 60 days -including a mandatory court appearance.
Meanwhile, a vendor or store selling Kratom is punishable by $250 fine per package and revoking of the license in case of law violation at multiple times.
In April 2019, after taking note of the FDA’s concerns over Kratom, there were efforts to ban the drug by St. Johns County Polydrug Task Force, headed by legislative chair Denver Cook.
Howbeit, after Kratom usage being defended by 20 speakers in light of the many health benefits against several of the medical conditions, the board of commissioners voted in favour of postponing any legislative action against the local ban of Kratom until May.
Following the state’s lead for the drug regulation and usage guidelines, it’s unlikely that the matter will resurface shortly.
Some Ongoing Research on Kratom
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has awarded the University of Florida, College of Pharmacy two multi-million grants amounting to $3.4 million for five-years and $3.5 million for two years.
The first grant is to study individual Kratom alkaloids, while the other one is for analyzing all of these alkaloids together to estimate their overall effect.
Kratom has been used as a herbal tea in Southeast Asia for the last many decades, and there are absolutely no casualties witnessed there.
However, so many deaths and increased amount of side effects in America is slightly worrying for the scientists.
Hence, another objective of this research is to investigate different drug interactions related to Kratom.
It will be able to lead us to a general understanding of what can be mixed and taken alongside with Kratom. Including, helping us in avoiding any of the lethal side effects.
Where To Buy Kratom In Florida?
If you are looking to buy Kratom in Florida, you can get it from several of the places. Local departmental and convenience stores, tea shops, tobacco and vape shops, gas stations, head shops, and even cocktail bars across the state have Kratom and Kratom containing products now.
Whether you want Kratom in grounded form or as a whole leaf, you can quickly get your hands on it with minimal difficulty.
Kratom is also served as a herbal drink or kava in Kava bars to provide an analgesic and euphoric experience to the customers. Local online and wholesale vendors also manufacture their Kratom, with a naturally grown imported plant.
Notably, it doesn’t matter where you get your Kratom products. The only thing of utmost importance is that you do your complete research before buying the Kratom from anywhere.
Check for the source of Kratom, look for the customer reviews, and most of all, make sure that it’s a quality product and you are not getting ripped off your money.
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