Kratom purity bill in Ohio would keep it available
- Posted on: 2022-03-09
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By Jim Gaines, Staff Writer
Dayton Daily News
Feb. 20, 2022
A bill backed by the kratom industry and passed 82-9 by the Ohio House of Representatives on Feb. 9 could set purity standards for the greenish-brown powder throughout the state. The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA), if passed by the Ohio Senate, will regulate the purity of kratom powder sold throughout southwest Ohio and prevent regulators from treating it as a drug.
Up to 10 million Americans use kratom for some purpose, said state Rep. Scott Lipps, R-Franklin, co-sponsor of the bil. One researcher estimates 300,000 Ohioans use it.
Economists estimate kratom is a $1.3 billion industry in the U.S. and growing, according to Mac Haddow, senior fellow on public policy for the American Kratom Association (AKA).
Opponents and proponents agree that contaminants in kratom are a major concern. “They have some bad actors in that industry who are adulterating the product,” said Lipps, also chair of the House Health Committee.
Manufacturers and users in Ohio have sought the regulations. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy is looking to legislators for direction before considering its own restrictions, said Lipps.
The bill is backed by the AKA, the industry’s main lobbying group. Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Utah have already adopted similar legislation.
About 300,000 Ohioans use kratom, said Jack Henningfield, a biology professor at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine . That’s about one Ohio resident in 40. The average age of kratom users is 30 to 55, he said.
About a third of kratom users take it to wean themselves off of opioids, said Mac Haddow of the AKA.
The KCPA would guard against “unscrupulous vendors” who add things to kratom, said David Carlucci of the AKA.
The bill would formally declare that kratom is not a drug, and prohibit the State Board of Pharmacy from listing it as a controlled substance. Instead, it would require the Ohio Department of Agriculture to:
Set standards for kratom processing.
Monitor and regulate processing.
Create a mandatory license for processors.
Establish criminal penalties for violators.
Inspect any place kratom is processed, distributed or sold.
Most studies of deaths linked to kratom find that other substances or underlying conditions were also involved.
Kratom has been banned by Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Wisconsin, the District of Columbia and several major cities.
In 2016 the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considered listing kratom as a Schedule 1 substance, the same as heroin or LSD. But the agency backed down after getting thousands of public comments in favor of kratom.