Following Massive Public Pushback, Feds Delay Kratom Ban
October 7, 2016 | Jake Anderson
(ANTIMEDIA) It appears an intensely negative public reaction has caused the Feds to temporarily halt their Schedule 1 designation of kratom. On Tuesday, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency announced it was delaying the ban at the behest of congressional lawmakers who wanted to prolong the ‘public comment period.’
A massive online movement, which has included petitions and feverish social media activity, effectively communicated the extent to which kratom has beneficial, medicinal value for thousands of people. In less than a month, the kratom community mobilized hundreds of thousands of people to share positive testimonials and denounce the draconian ban.
“The DEA will be releasing a statement in the next few days about opening a public comment period and exactly what that will look like…” said Susan Ash, director and founder of the American Kratom Association. “This is a really big deal…regardless of what happens it means our voices have been heard!
As Anti-Media previously reported, a closer analysis of the Southeast Asian tree leaf’s history shows there is not one documented case of someone having a lethal reaction. The apocryphal disinformation referred to by the DEA in its ban involves people who overdosed on multiple substances. Unlike prescription opiates, which kill 27,000 Americans every year, kratom is non-lethal and exceedingly safe if used responsibly. Big Pharma’s patenting of the major alkaloids in kratom also indicates companies are already aware of the benefits and want to monetize it.
Users of kratom report that the substance affords pain relief, safe and inexpensive detox from painkiller addiction, and even treatment for psychiatric conditions such depression, anxiety, and ADD. While these benefits may not yet be substantiated in the medical community (for lack of clinical research), the testimony of thousands of patients corroborates the claims.
The ban announced on August 30th also charged that kratom is addictive. While it may be habit-forming, many users accurately note the multitude of addictive substances — like coffee, cigarettes, and alcohol — that are even more addictive and dangerous and are not only legal but also aggressively advertised to hundreds of millions of citizens every day.
For many, the proposed criminalization of kratom feels much too similar to the legal status of marijuana. Despite a preponderance of medical benefits, the plant is still classified as Schedule 1. Like kratom, no one has ever died from marijuana consumption, and yet the Drug War continues to prosecute and imprison users and sellers.
While a federal ban would not prevent kratom from being accessible through the black market, it would greatly hinder research and cause users to live in fear.
What’s next for kratom? Will the DEA drop the ban? This is a watershed moment that will act as a litmus test for whether the government has any intention of being on the right side of history with regard to the criminalization of medicinal herbs. It is a small but critical battle. A win indicates a modicum of responsivity may yet remain in the decaying organs of our democracy.
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