The Legality of Kratom is an issue that many users of Kratom are interested in. It is a complex and multifaceted issue. Rightly many users are worried about the legal status and want full verification on whether they can take the substance legally. There is currently a lot of outdated and misleading information around the web. In this article, we will give you updated information on the legality of Kratom so that you can check its Legal status in a variety of countries.
Why is Kratom Listed as Illegal in Some Countries?
Over the years, Kratom has seen as a substitute for cannabis and cocaine. This is because Kratom was not studied and researched to prove otherwise. Therefore, some countries have classified it as an illegal substance. It also lacks Western research and does not have FDA approval. The lack of long term studies has led to some countries banning the substance. It is interesting to note that Kratom was widely used for centuries in South-East Asian countries.
Only in the last decade has Kratom become widely popular in Western Countries. The unknown components of Kratom have forced governments to take a hard stance on the legality. It is understandable that they want to protect their citizens. However, they are also depriving them of a hugely beneficial substance. All supplements have their risks, and this is also true of Kratom. We hope that the substance will get more legal clarification in the future, and this could be a reality due to ongoing scientific studies.
With the above knowledge let us now look at the legal status and issues surrounding the use of Kratom. We will look at the legality of Kratom by world continents.
Internationally, Kratom is a legal drug but, it elicits opiate-like effects, so it is banned in some countries. A complete ban usually means you cannot buy, sell, or use it in whatever form.
United States of America
Kratom is legal in the US but, some states have banned or are planning to ban it.
- The legal system of the US is complicated, and it varies by state. There are two systems in place namely the Federal and State level legal systems. There are also many law enforcement agencies in the US compared to other countries.
- In the US, the legality of Kratom is an issue that has been raised by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Due to its addictive nature and psychoactive properties, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have sought to ban it.
- However, some Kratom users have claimed it has numerous health benefits.
- In August 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) proposed that Kratom be listed as a schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs include heroin, cocaine, and LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide). This would have made Kratom illegal, but in October 2016 the proposition was removed.
- To verify the various claims of health benefits more studies were carried out. The studies revealed that the claims were valid. Kratom can help in alleviating chronic pain. But, this doesn’t mean that Kratom lacks adverse side effects.
- Hemby, a professor of pharmaceutical science at High Point University in North Carolina, has researched the two main components of Kratom. The components are 7‐hydroxymitragynine (7‐HMG) and mitragynine (MG).
- The two components have different potentials. MG has therapeutic potential, but HMG could be harmful. This means there is a possibility of not banning MG.
- It is important to note that each state has unique laws; therefore, relying on the general federal law can be misleading.
Below is a comprehensive list of the legal status of Kratom on each state.
- Arkansas – Banned as of February 1, 2016.
- Alabama – Banned as of May 10, 2016.
- Indiana – Banned
- Rhode Island – Banned and signed into law on May 31, 2017.
- Vermont – Banned
- Washington D.C. – Banned by resolution on December 12, 2016.
- Wisconsin – Banned
- Alaska – Legal
- Arizona – Legal
- California – Legal except for San Diego city and the city of Oceanside.
- Colorado – Legal
- Connecticut – Legal
- Delaware – Legal
- Florida – Legal except for Sarasota County.
- Georgia – Legal
- Hawaii – Legal
- Idaho – Legal
- Illinois – Legal for adults except for Jerseyville where it was banned in April 2017.
- Iowa – Legal
- Kansas – Legal
- Kentucky – Legal
- Louisiana – Legal
- Maine – Legal
- Maryland – Legal
- Massachusetts – Legal
- Michigan – Legal
- Minnesota – Legal
- Missouri – Legal
- Mississippi – Legal except for Union County.
- Montana – Legal
- Nebraska – Legal
- Nevada – Legal
- New Hampshire – Legal for 18+ only.
- New Jersey – Legal
- New Mexico – Legal
- New York – Legal but, the sale and distribution of Kratom are banned.
- North Carolina – Legal
- North Dakota – Legal
- Ohio – Legal for now because the process of scheduling Kratom as a Schedule I substance is ongoing.
- Oklahoma – Legal
- Oregon – Legal except for Ontario
- Pennsylvania – Legal
- South Carolina – Legal
- South Dakota – Legal
- Tennessee – Legal for 21 and over as of July 2018.
- Texas – Legal
- Utah – Legal
- Virginia – Legal
- Washington – Legal
- West Virginia – Legal
- Wyoming – Legal
In the states where Kratom is legal, you can grow and use it, but you can’t sell it. It is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
- The legal status of Kratom in Canada is a grey area. There is a debate on whether Kratom should be banned or not.
- Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) state that it is illegal to possess or sell Kratom with an intent to digest.
- Ironically, capsules and powder are sold in Canada. It is legal as long as the intention is not for ingestion.
Below is a list of the other South American countries showing the legal status.
- Bahamas – Legal
- Barbados – Legal
- Belize – Legal
- Costa Rica – Legal
- Cuba – Legal
- Dominican Republic – Gray area
- Guatemala – Legal
- Honduras – Legal
- Jamaica – Legal
- Mexico – Legal
- Nicaragua – Legal
- Saint Lucia – Legal
- Trinidad and Tobago – Legal
- Surprisingly, Kratom is illegal in Asia despite having its roots there. But, it is not banned in all countries in Asia.
- According to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Kratom is illegal. Kratom cannot be part of any dietary supplements or traditional medicines in ASEAN countries. Buying, selling, or using Kratom is unlawful.
Below is a list of the ASEAN countries:
- Malaysia – Completely banned in 2003.
- Thailand – Completely banned in 1979.
From the above list, Kratom is grown and produced in countries like Malaysia and Indonesia. In some of the countries, the legal status of Kratom is not clearly stated. There are no rules that state whether it is illegal or legal. But, it is still grown and exported without using it.
As of December 2018, Thailand legalized Kratom for medicinal use only.
- In South Korea, Kratom is illegal. If you import or export Kratom, you risk jail term and fines.
- In Japan, Kratom is illegal.
- The legal status of Kratom is not clear in China.
- The Word is, various vendors in Taobao (online marketplace in China similar to Amazon) were banned from the site after listing Kratom for sale.
- China considers opioids illegal, and Kratom has been linked to opioids.
- Also the laws there are harsh, and one risks death penalty if found importing drugs. Therefore it is risky to import Kratom there.
- In India, Kratom is legal. The problem one faces while there is a lack of the original product.
- Why? There is a tree, Mitragyna Parvifolia, that grows there of the same family as Kratom but still different from Kratom.
- This tree doesn’t grow as tall as but it produces psychoactive leaves.
- The vendors lie that it is the same as Kratom by labeling it, and it is cheaper. However, users have complained that it is not as effective as Kratom.
- Just like any other herbal remedy in South Africa Kratom is legal in South Africa. Although the Drug and Drug Trafficking Act of 1992 doesn’t criminalize Kratom, it is wrong to sell it as medicine.
- For Kratom to be considered medicine in South Africa, it has to be approved by the South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA). This is yet to happen so it can only be sold as a herbal remedy legally.
Kratom is not known in other African countries, so the legal status is not clear.
- Brazil is the only country in South America where it is clearly stated that Kratom is illegal.
- In Colombia, border officials have reported to causing issues. Why? Because of mistakenly identifying Kratom as coca leaves. It is therefore risky to travel with Kratom from the USA to Colombia.
What is the legal status of Kratom in other South American countries?
There is no reliable information for now on the legality of Kratom in the below countries.
- Although Europe uses the same currency and has no borders, legislation is different depending on the country.
- Importing, exporting and selling of Kratom was legal as of 2016. As of May 2016, the UK Psychoactive Substances Act came into effect and listed Kratom in the list of psychoactive substances.
- In 2017, it was listed as a Schedule I illegal drug.
In the following European countries, Kratom is illegal and controlled.
- Kratom is listed among significant drugs since 2016. It is illegal to import, sell, or possess it.
Finland and Denmark
- Kratom can be purchased with a valid doctor’s prescription, but it is a controlled substance.
- Here the legal status on the use of Kratom is not well stipulated. Before 2011, Kratom was sold and imported without any regulations.
- But, from 2011 it was listed an unapproved drug. It is, therefore, illegal to sell, import, buy, or use it.
- If found with it you risk fines, penalties and jail term as stipulated by the German law.
In other European countries, it is legal to use Kratom.
- In 2003, Kratom was banned in Australia. It was banned as a narcotic substance due to suspicions of potential abuse. However, no such case was reported in the country.
- In New Zealand, it is illegal to grow Kratom, sell, or buy Kratom. You can only use Kratom if you have a medical prescription.
- In Poland and Romania. Kratom is listed as a controlled substance.
- In Norway, Kratom is a prescription drug only.
The legal status is not clear in the following countries:
- Marshall Islands
- Papua New Guinea
- Solomon Islands
- There is no information on whether Kratom is illegal or legal in this continent.
Use of Kratom When Traveling
If you are planning to travel with Kratom, look for information regarding its legalization on the country you’re visiting. With that information in hand, you will avoid going against the law.
Remember, there are locations where the locals are not familiar with Kratom. In such places, there may be no rules governing the use of Kratom.
In other countries where the issue is considered a grey area, it may be safer to avoid Kratom. This will help you to avoid legal problems. You will also avoid tarnishing the reputation of Kratom because any negative issue reported may lead to Kratom ban.
From the above-detailed information on Kratom legality, it is clear that the legality of Kratom is incredibly complex. It is hard to see how the legal barriers to the substance will change in the new future.
Since the legal status is not permanent, it is essential to keep looking for updated information. In the US, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) is watching and conducting more studies on Kratom. There are also ongoing studies and researches in various countries to help in establishing whether Kratom should be legal or illegal. We will provide you any updates on the legal status. The debate over legality is sure to go on for many years, and this can be frustrating for many regular users over the substance.