Kratom is a plant in the same family as the coffee that millions of Floridians drink every single morning, and it has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. The internet brought Kratom to the United States where it has been purchased for medicinal and recreational purposes. However, a bill has recently been brought to both the senate and the house that is requiring more research and inevitably a decision as to whether the substance should be added to the controlled substances list in that state.
About the Bill
There are actually two parts to the bill: SB 0764 in the Senate and HB 0287 in the House. The version that was introduced to the Senate was provided by Republican Senator Greg Evers in response to Linda Mautner, a woman whose son commited suicide in Palm Beach County when he jumped from an overpass on I-95. Kratom and anti-depressants were found in his bloodstream, leading Mautner to believe that the substance played an integral role in his death. Though these bills initially sought to have the substance banned, a recent amendment now wants the state government to collect research on it and make recommendations on its legality before the end of the year.Limited Information
Advocates for Kratom are fighting the introduction of the bill, claiming that there has never been a documented case of Kratom being responsible for a death. State legislators claim that the sheer lack of information about the capabilities of the plant are frightening, and that cases of hallucination and psychosis have been reported and documented in clinical settings. As it stands, the substance is widely available for purchase and shipment on the internet and is sold in some stores. As of now, Kratom will not be added to the controlled substances list in Florida; rather, it will be closely researched and documented. Lawmakers will decide on its legality at the end of the year once the research has been completed.
Problems with the Ban
Although the bill initially asked for the substance to be banned, some problems in legally banning it were identified. In order for a substance to be considered Schedule I drugs, it must be proven that there are no widely accepted medical properties, that there is a high potential for abuse and/or addiction, and that even use under the care of a doctor is not guaranteed to be safe. As of right now, Kratom does not fit any of those descriptions due in part to the lack of documentation and research about the plant. It is hoped that by the end of the year, enough will be known to make an informed decision.
As of right now, Kratom is available in every major city in Florida and from many online retailers such as Kratom Collection, Kratom King or Phytoextractum. Reports claim that the effects are very mild and almost sedating, much like a small dose of a weak opiate. Adverse reactions are very rare and usually come only after very high doses. The plant’s leaves can also be chewed to get the desired effect.