Kratom, a popular herb from Southeast Asia, is receiving a lot of attention from the press and politicians who want to ban it. Kratom enthusiasts in Broward County don’t need to worry about its sales being banned for now. However, the marketplace for kratom might look much different in the months to come.
Kristin Jacobs, a county commissioner for Broward County, proposed a ban on the herb with the argument that its effects are dangerously similar to the effects of illegal drugs. But her fellow commissioners did not quite agree, arguing that more research needs to be done on kratom to justify banning its sales.
One commissioner named Stacy Ritter suggested that experts who call it dangerous have ulterior motives. It is a well-known fact that the pharmaceutical industry is protective of its profits, and Ritter believes the industry may be partnering with doctors to end the competition from kratom.
Surrounding counties are also considering the banning of kratom, and other nearby counties like Sarasota are already regulating its sales. Broward County commissioners are trying to make their decision based on facts, not political squabbles or corporate interests. Because of this, they have promised to reconsider the ban in the next few months once more research has been done.
But Kristin Jacobs, the commissioner who proposed the ban, feels strongly about this subject and doesn’t want to give up. Her determination to ban kratom stems from the publicized suicide of Ian Mautner. Mautner was a Florida man who jumped from an interstate overpass. His mother blames his kratom addiction for his death. Even the young man’s former neighbors have joined in the outcry to ban sales of this herb. They all sincerely believe that kratom played a fatal role in the late Ian Mautner’s life. Jacobs agrees and thinks her fellow commissioners are putting lives at risk by postponing the vote.
Kratom use has already been banned by both the U.S. Navy and Army, and the government has placed it on a drug enforcement watch list. The Food and Drug Administration has also taken action against kratom by giving an import notice that it has the right to detain certain products on suspicion of kratom-related ingredients.
The Drug Enforcement Administration provides information to the public on kratom’s origins, uses and nicknames. Primarily grown in Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia, it is a popular ingredient for tea in Southeast Asian homes. Small doses provide the user with stimulated senses while a larger dose may have a more sedating impact. Kratom’s most common nicknames are Ketum, Thom and Thang, but it may be known by several other names.
Kratom users are fighting the proposed ban and say the dangers have been exaggerated. Kristin Jacobs and other concerned citizens are still unsure. As the next few months unfold, additional research will hopefully bring more unbiased knowledge to the Broward County commissioners.