In the Southeastern region of the US, there lies the 24th most populous state, known as Alabama. Blessed with a diverse geography and a history rich with early European settlers and Natives to the land, the State has a lot to offer. From arduous mountains to smoothly flowing rivers and streams. Due to Alabama’s large amount of freshwater rivers and lakes, the State is considered to be one the most biodiverse throughout the US.
This biodiversity extends to the plant life you can find here. Where around 10 brilliant species of flowers stay in bloom throughout the year.
When speaking of plants, you cannot forget the modern trend of utilizing herbal products as a treatment measure. Here, we are more curious about the Kratom plant.
Although the State has no Kratom on it’s own and would most likely have it imported, regardless, what is the legal status of the plant within Alabama?
What Is Kratom?
Kratom, botanically known as Mitragyna speciosa, is a tropical plant closely related to the coffee family. It is abundant throughout Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Since the 19th century, Kratom has found its use in medicine and is often used to treat minor ailments like nausea, vomiting, dry mouth, constipation, etc.
But in modern times, Kratom is more so used for its effects on the mind as it helps to improve the mood and increase alertness.
What Are The Major Effective Compounds In Kratom?
Kratom contains a significant portion of psychoactive compounds. Two of which make up a considerable portion of the plant.
These two active compounds are:
- Mitragynine – It is a selective agonist. Mitragynine is the inactive form of the compound.
- 7-Hydroxymitragynine – It is a terpene alkaloid derived/obtained from the activation of Mitragynine, and it is the active metabolite and provides the herb with its medicinal properties.
What Is The Legality Status Of Kratom In The United States?
The legality of Kratom, especially in the US, is a mixed bag. There are many different opinions on the matter, and many Drug regulatory authorities are opposed to legalizing it.
Since 2016, many plant consumers have advocated for its use legally and praised it widely online. Through many efforts and successive petitions, the US government legalized it.
However, the legalization aspect for Kratom is something worth understanding.
What Is The Legal Status Of Kratom In Alabama?
Since May 2016, Alabama has banned Kratom from being sold or purchased in the State.
It is illegal in every major city. What does this mean?
This ban means that no online vendors can sell Kratom into Alabama. Likewise, you will not find products with Kratom in them in the State. There is zero existence of the product within State lines. However, shady black-market deals are another thing. There are felony charges if an individual has Kratom. These charges vary according to the amount of Kratom found.
Which Bill Was Passed In Alabama To Ban Kratom?
On May 10th, 2016, Alabama Governor signed the bill into law that classified Kratom as a schedule I controlled substance. SB226 passed the bill before being signed. Authorities allowed 24-48 hours for different drug stores and pharmacies to empty any Kratom products in storage. Law enforcement was made aware and ordered to inform other departments and agencies about the new law. After the allotted time, any person found with any amount of Kratom would be considered eligible for punishment. The Senate bill 223 was the one that put the active compounds (Alkaloids) of Kratom, Mitragynine, and Hydroxymitragynine on the scheduled controlled list.
Where Can You Buy Kratom In Alabama?
Sadly, due to the ban of Kratom within State lines. You won’t be able to find any local shops/vendors who will sell Kratom or its products in Alabama. Likewise, it will be difficult for online vendors to sell Kratom into Alabama. If any such processes are occurring, there is risk of getting felony charges. So, if you wish to get any amount of Kratom fix, it is much better to buy from another State and use it there. Or you could face serious jail time (About 2- 20 years) for repeated offenses.
What Was The Reason Behind The Ban?
Alabama, at one point, had become the single largest State with the highest number of addicts. These addiction problems were affecting general as well as special populations. Even newborns faced addiction issues due to mothers who partook in smoking marijuana or other medicinal substances. During its peak, the motion to legalize Kratom was on an all-time high. The American Kratom Association was pushing to make the drug eligible for sale and procurement, and many consumers were also in agreement with this. But in a state like Alabama, there was already anarchy due to an alarming population of addicts. It seemed like a more significant issue.
Once the Federal Government passed the bill, it became legal to buy and sell Kratom. Alabama quickly became the sixth State in the US to put Kratom on a controlled substance list.
Classification Of Kratom In Alabama
The plant itself is not illegal in Alabama, but the purpose of its ban lies in its constituents.
In Alabama, during 2016, the active constituents of Kratom, Mitragynine, and 7-Hydroxymitragynine were decided to be illegal. It was so because they were highly addictive psychoactive compounds.
Through different studies and tests conducted by the FDA, Alabama declared Kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance.
What Is Schedule I Controlled Substances?
Controlled substances are drugs or drug products whose use is regulated and controlled by the government due to the specific potent effects that they produce.
Schedule I Controlled substances include those with no known medically approved use, a general lack of safety, and a high profile for substance abuse.
These controlled substances include LSD, Heroin, Marijuana, Ecstasy, etc.
What Are The Punishable Offenses For Having Kratom In Alabama?
According to Senate Bill 226, the possession and sale of the drug Kratom are illegal.
Any person found with Kratom on their person can face felony charges.
According to state law, possession of Kratom, a synthetically controlled substance, has a minimum life sentence for any amount over 10 kilograms. The minimum amount of Kratom that the law deems punishable is between 56 grams and 500 grams for three years in state prison.
Health Concerns Regarding The Use Of Kratom
The FDA and DEA have on multiple occasions stressed the fact that Kratom contains certain biological compounds that are harmful to health. There are also no viable case studies that show any valuable medicinal benefit of Kratom.
Some of the reasons why the FDA and DEA discourage the use of Kratom products:
Substance Abuse Property Of Kratom
High doses of Kratom have a similar effect to that of Morphine. Morphine is considered a highly addictive drug. So, to use Kratom as a replacement for it doesn’t necessarily make it any safer than Morphine.
People that use Kratom regularly have found it challenging to cut down or have developed sleep issues due to the alerting properties of the herb.
Not only that, but substance abuse regarding Kratom has also increased considerably throughout the US. Making it a significant cause for concern, this has alerted different narcotics and drug enforcement administrations to label Kratom as a “drug of concern.”
Negative Impact of Kratom in special populations
- Adults: Long-term use of Kratom can lead to respiratory issues, agitation, and sleep disturbances in adults. It also has a dependency and leads to intense withdrawal symptoms. With prolonged Kratom use, muscle loss, high blood pressure, heart attack, and rhythm disturbances can also become an issue.
- Pregnant Women: Pregnant women have used Kratom as a reliever, but its use has caused weight loss, seizures, dizziness, and delusions in these women. Not only that, but most of them have also experienced liver damage due to its use during their pregnancy.
- Newborns: New mothers who have used Kratom throughout their pregnancy might have newborns who suffer from NAS (Neonatal abstinence syndrome). A newborn suffers through withdrawal symptoms from the drugs exposed to them in the womb. This drug use can cause poor suckling, seizures, and slow weight gain in these children.
Are There Any Recent Updates Regarding Kratom
The director, Susan Ash of the American Kratom Association (AKA), tried to fight the bill in Alabama in 2019. She believed it was a criminal act to deprive people of Kratom who were using it as an alternative to relievers. Despite this, the Association wasn’t successful.
Many users are actively trying to get the bill turned in their favor; however, these are now at a much smaller scale.
In May of 2021, The FDA seized a large quantity of adulterated Kratom in Florida and started a heated debate on how toxic the product truly is. On the other side, the AKA and other Kratom enthusiasts stood up for their beliefs and stated that “Kratom is more benign than its other psychoactive companions.”
This event didn’t lead to much as both sides continued to push their ideas. The FDA still wishes to have Kratom classified as a type I controlled substance on the federal level and the other federally prohibited drugs but is met with solid opposition each time.
Could Kratom Be Legalized In Alabama?
The whole reason why Alabama banned the use of Kratom in the first place was due to its comparable properties to substances. Before the entire Kratom debacle came into being, Alabama was already struggling as a State with sedative offenses. And it was the single largest State in the US at the time, where substance abuse cases in regards to sedatives were at an all-time high. Because of this, many natural, synthetic, and semi-synthetic sedatives and alternatives were considered illegal. When the American Kratom Association was pushing the Kratom agenda throughout the US, Alabama was one of the first States to make it illegal for use based on their already messy experience with sedatives. So, there is a meager chance of Alabama legalizing Kratom. Though one can hope, it might take a long time before this comes to fruition.
The world of Kratom is still in its developmental stages. As no literature is approved that assures that using Kratom won’t be a hazard, it is safe to say that using the drug for anything should be done cautiously. Because even if researchers haven’t discovered the positives of the drug. The FDA found many side effects, aware that they potentially outweigh the benefits. Plus, the legality status of Kratom can also be an issue. So, knowledge regarding its legal status is a must if you wish to use Kratom in any capacity.