Bill filed in Florida House to make Kratom a controlled substance - Florida Politics

Bill filed in Florida House to make Kratom a controlled substance

Florida State Rep. Kristin Jacobs, a Coconut Creek Democrat, filed legislation on Friday to add Kratom to the controlled substance list.

House Bill 183 would add Mitragynine and Hydroxymitragynine, constituents of Kratom, to the schedule of controlled substances, offering an exception for any FDA approved substance containing these chemicals.

Selling, delivering, manufacturing, or importing these Kratom chemical constituents into Florida would be considered a misdemeanor of the first degree, should the law go into effect.

Kratom has been used as herbal medicine in Southeast Asia for centuries, serving as a palliative and an alternative to opiates, though it only recently has become popular in the United States.

As we noted in 2016: “Traditionally, kratom leaves are chewed to treat a variety of ailments: in reducing pain, as an anti-diarrheal, and to reduce dependence on opiates. Kratom is also thought to provide energy, as well as decrease symptoms of opiate withdrawal and extend the duration of sexual intercourse.”

Concomitant with that surge in popularity: interest of the enforcement state.

President Barack Obama’s Drug Enforcement Administration issued an “emergency” ban on Kratom in Aug. 2016, then repealed it due to a popular backlash the DEA did not anticipate.

Reason, the libertarian website, notes that reports of Kratom’s danger to the general public may very well be exaggerated.

“As further proof of kratom’s dangers, the DEA noted that “U.S. poison centers received 660 calls related to kratom exposure” from 2010 through 2015, an average of 110 a year. By comparison, exposures involving analgesics accounted for nearly 300,000 calls in 2014, while antidepressants and antihistamines each accounted for more than 100,000,” observed Jacob Sullum.

The bill as of yet lacks a Senate companion. However, when first filed by Rep. Jacobs in 2015, the Senate version was filed by Greg Evers.

On the federal level, the Food and Drug Administration has been agitating against Kratom for three years and counting.

Among the FDA actions: seizing shipments of the herb.

On the state level, Kratom has had what may seem like unlikely defenders.

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement contended in late 2015 that “a review of information currently available through identified law enforcement and laboratory sources in Florida indicates that Kratom does not constitute a significant risk to the safety or welfare of Florida residents. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) reports no pervasive health issues attributed to the ingestion of Kratom products in Florida.”

We have reached out to Rep. Jacobs for comment; this piece will be updated when we hear back.

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48 Comments

  1. Should we assume that a freshman representative, Jacobs, knows more than The Florida Dept of Health, or The Florida Dept of Law Enforcement? Jacobs’ war on Kratom is merely an effort to further her political career, and is based solely upon appealing to the public, on an emotional level, rather than an intellectual level. More than once, I’ve heard her address a group of public officials, concerning Kratom. She sounded like a televangelist. I expected her tears to flow at any moment, as she went on about “This bright young lad, with his whole life ahead of him………….his life was tragically cut short because of his Kratom addiction”. Jacobs failed to mention that the young man had a history of substance abuse and depression. She also failed to mention that the toxicology report showed 3 very powerful antidepressants in his bloodwork, two of which are KNOWN to cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Still, Ms Jacobs chooses to blame Kratom. Her rhetoric is reprehensible, and reflects poorly upon her, both as an elected official and as a human being.

    1. Well, Said. I have been using Kratom myself for years and I am still here. High doses at that. Thank you for saying what needs to be said.

  2. Anyone… anyone who says that kratom is dangerous or should be made illegal is an absolute idiot. Kratom is as potent as a cup of coffee. You do not get a buzz, you do not get hung over and you cannot overdose. Period.

    1. This is absolutely correct. What a waste of money putting effort in scheduling this. This bill is the real crime. Not at all based on fact

      1. Based on fact..HAH! Our government bases laws on who they will protect or benefit *usually monitarily*, and have little to do with what is right. And often the benefactors in the end, are themselves or their cronies. “Illegal plants” should be made a thing of the past…Pharmaceutical companies want to make this stuff illegal because it competes with their drugs…follow the money circles…back to government controlled health care, etc.

    2. Hear, hear…the thought of it being strong enough for scheduling (or addiction, or to be deadly) is laughable. People and their witch hunts, it’s pathetic.

  3. I urge that the State of Florida NOT ban kratom.As a 55-year-old man,I have experienced many pharmaceuticals which were prescribed to me by my doctor.Pain and depression has completely taken the joy out of my life.I have tried the highly addictive pain meds and many cocktails of antidepressants.This treatment plan just got me addicted and made my life even less enjoyable .Having to resort to methadone and suboxone to get off the highly addictive pain meds.Instead of becoming a life long methadone or suboxone user,I discovered kratom.My disabling symptoms slowly but surely disappeared.Joy creeped back into my life.THANK GOD for kratom!

    The smiling man is back!!!

  4. I really hope they look i into this more. Do more studies. I was addicted to pain meds after a couple of surgeries and being diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. I learned about Kratom 2 years ago after i had staff infection. I threw my pain meds away! I also quit drinking (i drank wine/beer at times nightly to relax). I have become way more involved in my childrens daily activities since. It has really been such a blessing in our lives! I say thay with the most sincerity that one can. Of the 660 people who were stated to have had an issue with Kratom, did they have other substances in their system. I just don’t understand why something that has helped so many people would be made out to be bad and taken away. It makes me very sad and concerned. My mood has improved so very much since i started taking Kratom. Please do more in depth studies and reconsider.

    1. I forgot to mention that i had extremely high blood pressure. Kept in the hospital for hours! Held at my doctors office for hours because it was so high! I was taking a high dose of 2 strong BP meds twice daily. Since i have been taking Kratom, i have been taken off of one med and put on the lowest dose possible of the other. These are important situations in my daily life that would be affected if Kratom is banned. I NEVER EVER have felt out of control or in physical danger while taking Kratom. I am happy for those individuals that are healthy and have no need for any kind of herb. But not everyone is the same.

      1. I’ve been taking this for over a year now, since I started taking this natural substance I have completely got away from narcotic medication that I was taking for back, knee and arthritis pain.. just another way for the government to take something away from us to make them rich..

  5. My Dr has me on a ton of opiates for all my disabilities. I’m not a fan of pills so I looked for a healthier alternative and found Kratom. I was totally amazed. I decided on the capsules because it does taste like crap I learned about what strain works on what ailment.
    I never went through withdrawals taking it. my back pain fibromyalgia andother problems were being managed I had more energy and was finally able to sleep
    I belong to kratom groups heard so many positive stories about being able to quit heroin how their pain was managed no negative feedback and no one said that it got them high no overdoses
    The real reason they want to ban it is because it takes money away from the Drug companies just like weed

  6. Here we go again. Another attempt to get their hands on something that helps people. They dont tell u that the reports also reported that the people had other substances in their system. They jave already made it almost impossible in florida to get any pain relief as it is for people that suffer everyday due to chronic pain now they want to take this. This tree has changed peoples lives for the better including mine and now they want to put us all back to where we dont have a quality of life. This is the first time in years i feel well enough to consider going back to work. There is no proff that kratom hurts anyone. Its just an bad excuse to take it from us. We will fight this because its infair to those of us who have a better life because of it. Why is it that they dont care about us and what is helping. Is to make it a scheduled one drug is one of the most ridiculous thing i have ever heard. Than they wonder why people turn to breaking the law just to feel better. When u hurt everyday of your life some will do almost anything to feel better even if it means breaking the law. All u will accomplish is to make law abing citizens criminals. Please dont do this it just isent fair.

  7. After being on pain Meds for over 14 years, and the DEA getting involved with what Drs prescribed.. Even though I took less many times than the 2 pills a day, and never increased my doses in all those years, I decided to look for an alternative.. And I found Kratom. I weaned myself off, and never looked back. You do not get high from Kratom, I do not smoke pot, I do not want to be high.. So this was perfect for me..
    The young man Ms. Jacobs refers to, had a depression issue and was on Meds that cause suicidal thoughts.. Kratom was probably the only thing in his system that WAS NOT HARMFUL. I don’t like name calling, but this woman, Jacobs is an idiot and she needs to listen to the countless others that have gotten their lives back.. How many people have died from prescription pain Meds and anxiety Meds??? Go after Big Pharma..!!!! Oh, wait, she can’t, because they are funding her..

  8. Kratom has helped me
    I want to know how much money this person is going to get from the Pharmaceutical industry for their actions
    I am growing my trees in my yard
    F__k the DEA
    They are a front

  9. I believe this would be a huge mistake! I once was on pain medications for the pain that Lupus causes and one knee that I haven’t yet had replaced! I’m 37 years old! I shouldn’t have any of these problems but, I do. When I moved to Florida 3 years ago I couldn’t find a doctor for pain management even with my previous medical records. Doctors kept saying they couldn’t risk their license! They explained to me that Florida has gotten in some trouble over the past for prescription pain pills! Anyways to make a long story short, I went home and researched ways to treat pain naturally and of course Kratom kept coming up! I decided to give it a try because in all actuality, I had nothing to loose. Three years has passed and it works great without all the crazy side effects. I take Kratom (3) times a day! I’m active, I can sleep and mostly because I’m pain free!
    Please do not take our livelihood from us!

  10. As mentioned above, kratom is about as potent as a cup of coffee (with less ‘jitters’, imo!). It doesn’t cause euphoria and its side-effects are incredibly mild to non-existent. As someone with major depressive episodes, prescribed meds take far longer to start working and have terrible side-effects. Kratom, on the other hand, lifts my mood better than any of them and has got me out of bed on days when I’d otherwise be unable to do anything except cry or sit in a catatonic state for hours on end. This isn’t hyperbole – kratom changed my life. It’s sad that uneducated people with clear agendas are intent on tearing down this harmless and beneficial plant just to keep money in the pockets of big pharma.

    1. Oh for crap sake, obviously the person trying to file against kratom has never needed to use it for chronic pain! Who wants to stay on chronic pain management with narcotics as their every day life? Kratom is way easier to manage than narcotics are! How many deaths a year does alcohol have associated with an abuser? If someone wants to abuse any chemical, they are going to find a way! Wake up Representative Jacobs- you should find a better cause than kratom use!

  11. Hello my name is angel. I understand kratom is helping some folks but recently my sister who was suffering from a bad car accident found a group on Facebook called kratom current users or something similar. Anyhow these people convinced her she should throw away her RX doctor approved medicines and use only kratom. I have access to her Facebook account and the messages are unbelievable. Not only was she told by this groups admins that kratom could help and possibly cure all her pain they convinced her to quit taking her steroids and antibiotics. She is currently in a coma on life support because she was naive enough to listen to these people and was overtaken by a massive infection. I’m not sure what kratom does for you but please don’t think it can take the place of an antibiotic.

  12. I agree!! I was on high dose pain meds which lead to abuse. In turn ruined my life and took away my feelings and thought process. I was also on some heavy anti depressants..and seisure meds. I came across Kratom in Kentucky and stopped all prescribed meds and only take Kratom. Im in South Carolina now and still only taking Kratom. I broke my leg in three places here was prescribed oxycontin and hydrocodone. I continued to take kratom in their place and it works better and last longer. I have my life back and works better than anything ever prescribed to me. My husband takes Kratom for blood pressure and a debilitating back injury as well. Leave this miracle tree leaf alone!!

  13. Perhaps Ms. Jacobs needs to be given some actual, important work to do. She continues to display poor choices in selecting issues that need addressing, and clearly needs some guidance by some of her more discerning colleagues or her constituents (who, I am sure, are puzzled by here recurrent, unsuccessful war on a beneficial plant…a plant that may be an incredibly useful tool in dealing with the current opioid crisis. Wait! A real issue of substance! Maybe she should be briefed and made aware).

  14. My wife had no life left because of pain. She needs a fusion in her lower back. Kratom has given her limited function back. Nothing else helped her. She has no bad side effects. Just relief and hope.

    1. Please contact me with more information about your story. My comment is awaiting moderation below (this message is a test as well to see whether that comment is awaiting moderation because of my inclusion of contact information).

  15. Clearly, many politicians are still living in an archaic dungeon where facts do not pertain to effective legislature, and embelished half-truths rule the day. The country is awakening from this nightmarish tyrannical system and all of its brainwashed followers will be flushed right along with the other waste. This republic is ruled by the people, NOT the ambitious, money-grubbing, war-mongering, government officials deluded in their own self-evident state of superiority. Kratom is a cheap, safe, natural herb that threatens the stability of a multi-billion dollar industry: Big pharmaceutical companies synthetic heroin, or “morphine” and all its derivatives. Thats right, i have used heroin, AND i have used oxycodon, oxymorphone, fentanyl and i tell you the only difference is, the pharmaceutical version is much easier to obtain and legally obtainable.
    People need to continue seeing the truth, big pharmaceutical companies and the FDA, DEA, are NOT out to help “The People.” They are helping themselves at the cost of human lives by the thousands.
    Dont believe me, investigate it yourselves.

  16. Let Jacobs know that her attempt to do this will bring about so many Florida voters working towards her NOT getting elected. We will lobby for anyone else running against her.

  17. Let’s ban something that helps so many people. The government isn’t making big money like they to on methadone clinics…

  18. Let me assure you all, as a member of the advisory board for the Botanical Education Alliance, that we will be fighting this measure tooth and nail to ensure that it fails – as it has every previous year that Rep. Jacobs has introduced it.

    Please feel free to send me testimonials, arguments, and thoughts to my personal email address: kendrajowers123@gmail.com. Include the word “kratom” in the subject line so that I can be alerted to the matter of the email. If possible, I would prefer that the substance of your email be in Word or other such format and attached to the message.

    You may also send something via snail mail to my business address:

    Law Office of Kendra Jowers, PA
    7065 Westpointe Blvd., Ste. 317
    Orlando, FL 32835

    Thank you all for your passion and efforts.

    Kendra Jowers, Esq.

  19. When one is incapable of substantive thought or action, this is what they do. Ms. Jacobs, please do not interfere in the lives of sentient beings. If you don’t know what that word means, look it up

    If your motivation is the belief that a possible effect of the substance, as reported, is the prolongation of intercourse, neither you nor your husband (or partner) should use it.

    But please, please, leave the rest of us alone.

  20. I live with Chronic Pelvic Pain. I am off opiates…
    1 Teaspoon of Kratom 2xs a day, changed my life.
    It’s changed my life.
    And my family’s.
    I do not get “high” or feel any more of a buzz than from coffee.

  21. State Rep. Kristin Jacobs learns very fast. Why rely on the voters to fund your campaign when Big Pharma will take care of you. Anyone with the slightest intelligence can do the research and see that kratom is perfectly safe except that it will hurt Big Pharma’s profits and God forbid something comes between your health and your wallet which is as BP likes to think theirs for the picking. I’m amazed at how quickly she threw her constituents overboard and hopped into Big Pharma’s lap. She will unfortunately probably go far in politics.

  22. I am a 67 year old retiree. I do not drink or smoke and have never been addicted to drugs.
    At one point in my life I used pain kills for my back. They worked well for a few days and then I noticed that they made me act weird and took my energy away. I was introduced to Kratom and have enjoyed it for years. I feel no bad affects. You DO NOT grt high! It is simply a subtle thing. It is more like coffee. Why would anyone want to take this away? My only answer could be the drug companies are missing out.

  23. My doctor suggested Pain Management for arthritis in my lower back. I kindly thanked him for his time and declined…If it weren’t for kratom and kava I would quite possibly be courting an opiate addiction at the moment…
    As is, I use nothing more than the gifts the Good Lord has provided through Nature, and I am happy, healthy, and able to live a positive and productive life as a result!

  24. She had a lot of passion with nothing to support it. In my opinion she is trying to manufacture a political capital. A complete scientific analysis has been done It concludes that it relatively safe and should be kept legal and accessible as it is now.
    http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/pinneyassociates-scientific-abuse-potential-assessment-of-kratom-finds-evidence-of-public-health-benefit-and-little-harm-300392756.html

    On a personal note I have been using it for three years. I was in so much pain that I was bedridden for eight years and using a walker or wheelchair despite being on 11 prescriptions two of which were narcotics all from the same doctor. My family lost a mom and wife for 8 years. I am now on one script and it is not a narcotic. I bike 5-15 miles a day or walk a few miles depending on the weather I have lost 40lbs and am no longer in need of blood pressure pills. Financially I come out ahead as I only see the dr every two or three months, I only have one script copay instead of 11 and I no longer go to the er every month. Kratom is good for local economies too as the whole family eats out together, movies, and many many local events.

    The only people who do not benefit from Kratom is the American Drug Cartel known as Big Pharma

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