According to Kratom advocates, Godwin’s Law makes bad law, as a state representative’s comments undergo sustained scrutiny.
Florida State Rep. Kristin Jacobs, a Democrat from Coconut Creek who filed legislation to outlaw Kratom components, caused outrage in the community of Kratom advocates Monday by saying their advocacy for the palliative properties of the plant reminded her of Adolf Hitler.
“They have a story,” Jacobs told us Monday via phone. “Just like Hitler believed if you tell a lie over and over again, it becomes the truth.”
Jacobs’ comments have led to a tidal wave of responses on the page housing the story, and a robust counternarrative on Twitter.
Meanwhile, prominent Florida advocates for Kratom are speaking up about her comments.
One such advocate, Kendra Jowers of the Botanical Education Alliance’s advisory board, took particular issue with Jacobs’ characterizations of Kratom users.
“It’s difficult to know how to respond to what Representative Jacobs said, because what she said was borderline lunatic. And I think any sane, rational person could recognize it as such — whether they have personal ties to kratom or not,” Jowers told us Tuesday in a phone conversation.
“When Representative Jacobs feels the need to compare an advocacy organization like the Botanical Education Alliance to the Third Reich, she’s already lost the argument. She’s already shown that she has no winning hand; that’s why she resorts to such absurd and outrageously dishonest appeals to emotion and irrationality. We are a group of professionals from across the country who have volunteered our time to fight for people’s right to use a natural supplement to curtail their pain and wean off of addiction to opioids and alcohol. To liken us to Hitler is reprehensible and entirely unprofessional,” Jowers continued.
“That is not to mention how abhorrent and obscene it was for her to trivialize one of the worst atrocities in human history.”
In addition to taking umbrage to Jacobs’ comparison of users of a plant-based palliative to the author of one of the worst genocides in recorded history, Jowers also disputed Jacobs’ lurid depiction of the “glassy eyes and shaky hands” of “Kratom addicts.”
“She may not have named names, but those were personal attacks. Because when she characterizes kratom users this way — glassy-eyed, shaking, helpless addicts who aren’t competent to understand what they’re fighting for here — she is personally attacking the tens of thousands of Floridians who use kratom to responsibly manage their health conditions,” Jowers noted.
“Kratom users are mothers, grandmothers, brothers, sisters, and notably, veterans suffering from PTSD, pain, and addiction that may have resulted from what they’ve endured in the course of their service to this country. I guarantee, you encounter kratom users all the time, and you would have no idea that they are using it unless they were to tell you — contrary to Representative Jacobs’ histrionic and inaccurate characterization,” Jowers added.
Jowers also took issue with Jacobs’ assertion that the DEA was on the verge of making Kratom a Schedule 1 drug.
“It’s far too premature for her to make such an assessment,” Jowers said, given that it’s unknown who will run the DEA or the Department of Justice in the Trump Administration.
“What the DEA did when it pulled back from the emergency Kratom ban was unprecedented,” Jowers said, noting the agency responded to 20,000 comments from people “devastated” by the federal action.
Jowers also questioned Jacobs’ conflation of Kratom with Heroin and opioids.
“Kratom is not comparable to opioids. Period. We’ve submitted a 248 report to the DEA and FDA that includes toxicology analysis, historical analysis, and safety information. No person who cares about the facts can honestly compare kratom to opioids or heroin,” Jowers said.
The bill has yet to be assigned to committees, or have a Senate sponsor, but both those are imminent.
We will track Kratom legislation this session as it moves through the process.
January 10, 2017 at 2:14 pm
Thank you for having our backs. Being compared to Adolf Hitler is probably the most vicious verbal attack I have ever been on the receiving end of. She disgusts me. How can she hold a position in our government? Better yet, after her hateful words, how can she STILL hold her position? She clearly stepped over the line. She needs to be removed.
January 11, 2017 at 2:05 am
January 11, 2017 at 10:46 am
Let’s start a petition!
January 18, 2017 at 3:59 am
January 11, 2017 at 1:05 pm
Well said. This article really infuriated me. Kratom has worked wonders on the pain I endure every day from an illness I have. I hate to take opiates or pharmaceuticals to ease my pain. Kratom is natural and basically gave me my life back for the time being. Excuse my language, but this lady is ignorant and talking out of her backside!
January 10, 2017 at 3:08 pm
what a bitch.
January 10, 2017 at 8:29 pm
She sounds ignorant and uneducated about kratom. It’s unfortunate, and I hope her comments are taken with such regard
January 10, 2017 at 4:01 pm
The angry zeal and tunnel-vision on display here are worthy of further investigation — perhaps by the fine journalists at Florida Politics. What exactly is motivating Rep. Jacobs to continually try to muscle through the legislature a law that clearly lacks any merit? A sensless ban that will not only criminalize but cause harm to so many good, hard-working people of Florida?
This crusade appears to reach beyond strong feelings or simple perseverance. It defies the existing, peer-reviewed science. It ignores the university researchers who repeatedly conclude kratom’s low risk profile. It insults the large nationwide community of middle-class family men and women who use kratom to improve their lives.
One must wonder what lies behind such silliness. Nay, cruelty. What is the true motivation? How many times must this plant go on trial? Its support goes way beyond anecdote. Search the data.
January 11, 2017 at 5:29 am
January 11, 2017 at 8:04 am
Omg,i finally find something the really helps my depression,and they wanna take it away,figures,ssri’ never worked,ive tried,isnt just all about the almighty dollar anyway? Cant get theyre grimy little hands on it,tax it,etc think money is why.where did she whip out this nazi thing? Unreal bitch
January 11, 2017 at 7:39 pm
I’m sure somewhere in her closet lies campaign donations, bribes, ect from the pharmaceutical industry that doesn’t want a safe, cheap, effective supplement available to the people that would keep them from using their dangerous and expensive drugs in the first place. Follow the money and you will find just how corrupt this inept politician really is.
Amanda & Chris Holton
January 10, 2017 at 5:17 pm
By what this Jacob’s has said I shouldn’t be able to hold a full time job, nor my husband. I guess I can’t take care of my now almost 15yr old son. Who has been in and out of Children’s hospital, I (we) have always been there and have been able to be there even more with the use of Kratom. I would rather use Kratom then to ever put heavy opioids in my body ever again. My husband & I both have a lot of medcial issues that cause a lot of pain, anxiety,stress, & many other things. Our son can speak his self on the differences now and when we took prescription meds. He will tell you himself that he can see the difference in us & that we have more energey. Jowers is very right, if I hadn’t told you that my husband & I used Kratom you would have never known. We both hold full time jobs, we homeschool our son, we care for his medical isssues (as he has many) & we do many family events together. So you tell me when I’m out shopping with my family of you see stoned glassy eyes or if you see a happy family. Ask my coworker or even my customers what do they see when the speak to me & the answer will be that she is a very sweet & outgoing person. That always tries to do whatever she can to help you. So to all my Kratom family I understand your struggle & we will fight the fight. Maybe someone should slip Kratom into her morning coffee. Because I’m sure she would never know. She would just feel better that day & once told maybe her views would change.
January 10, 2017 at 6:32 pm
No words can describe how much kratom has helped me manage my psoriatic arthritis and ulcerative colitis. There are no words to describe the hell I’ve been through. Please let us live.
January 10, 2017 at 7:12 pm
Don’t knock it if you Havent had a reason to try it for what ever your ailments are.. Try doing something about the drug companies greed that’s what this will end up being all about…………….
January 10, 2017 at 10:18 pm
Kratom is a life saver!! It works wonders for my anxiety and stress, which, I would take,before I would take my Xanax.
January 11, 2017 at 9:37 am
Oh no, don’t say that! That just gives big pharma more reason to work around the DEA and FDA for their agenda.
January 10, 2017 at 10:35 pm
How can we donate? To whom? We need more warriors like this.
January 11, 2017 at 8:09 am
My name in the article links to my personal email address ([email protected]). Feel free to reach out. I will point you in the direction that is best considering your location, interests, etc.
January 18, 2017 at 4:02 am
Fabulous piece! I think you should include the letter from the FDLE about their opinion of Kratom as well as the original one from the CDC pretty much telling the FDA that it would be completely detrimental to make Kratom a Schedule 1.
January 11, 2017 at 9:43 am
January 11, 2017 at 12:02 pm
http://www.americankratom.org and https://www.botanical-education.org are both fighting tirelessly for the cause.
January 11, 2017 at 1:21 am
It’s worth noting here that the Florida Medical Association is in league with Florida’s addiction treatment industry and that Rep. Jacobs is also tied to the FMA, through contributions. What better gift could the industry receive than a whole new class of people forced into treatment by a kratom ban? It only remains to justify the prohibition. Ergo the outlandish claims.
January 11, 2017 at 7:44 am
I absolutely agree. Certain states received a large financial incentive to use towards rehab industry. I think we are clearly seeing what $$$ is motivating the need to eliminate and make inaccessible a non opiate plant that has by clear proof in numbers alone helped pain patients and opiate addicts to a clean and pain free life without the need for treatment.
January 11, 2017 at 8:27 am
I’m not willing to put anything past anyone, but this claim is itself a bit outlandish. And my personal experience would dictate that this tenuous connection is probably not the reason for Jacobs’s behavior (feel free to email me, address is in the article, and I will explain – I have credentials that I asked not be included in this piece). Now, I say this with a particular understanding of “treatment industry” in mind, and that understanding includes traditional psych facilities and inpatient rehab facilities. There are already far more addicts than rehab beds in the state – in other words, these facilities basically have an unlimited supply of patients already – and it’s somewhat far-fetched to claim that rehab operators actively want more people to be addicted to opioids.
What I am more open to believing is that suboxone clinic operators or those entities tied to them (e.g., pain management clinics) might have something to do with this, because kratom does represent an almost-direct competitor. I’d need to do more research. Although it’s worth noting that they, too, already have waiting lists, even despite the increase in patient load to 275 for DATA-waived physicians.
You may very well be right that the FMA has something to do with this. But I would caution against lumping the entire treatment industry together, because you have entities under that umbrella that are drastically different and have different interests. I would also say that using the term “in league with” is a bit too vague to really mean much. In league how?
January 11, 2017 at 3:17 am
I have fibromyalgia, trigeminal neurologia, and chronic migraines. My illnesses bring on a ton of symptoms, the worst being daily pain and chronic fatigue. Before kratom i couldn’t keep a full time job and I had no social life. I stayed in bed almost all day. I’ve been prescribed to just about everything from the age of 12 to 30. Then two years ago I tried kratom. Then I tried it again! It was amazing! I feel like a normal person most days! I have a full time job now and a small social life. I still have pain but it’s manageable. And let’s face it, that’s all we want! We don’t expect miracles here! But kratom comes pretty close to it! Please don’t take my life away from me!
January 11, 2017 at 8:11 am
Thank you, Mr. Gancarski, for a well thought out and written article!
January 11, 2017 at 8:21 am
Sign up for emails while you’re there to stay up to date.
Btw… what happened to Susan Ash and the American Kratom Association ? Jacobs mentions “The Kratom Association” by name and while I appreciate all that the BEA has done, the AKA is NON-PROFIT/NON-VENDOR. No one there makes ANY money off of Kristin Jacobs “glassy eyed addicts.” They are an education/advocacy only group of mostly volunteers. Please reach out to Susan Ash @the AKA for a rebuttal piece. This was great and the content was a perfect piece of reporting, but the leaders and activists in this fight are the AKA and it was also who Kristin Jacobs directed her Hitler comment at. The clapback really belongs to the AKA.
January 11, 2017 at 9:30 am
The BEA is nonprofit/nonvendor as well; donations are held in legal trust for the specific purposes outlined on our website. We similarly appreciate what the AKA does, but we aren’t making money off of anyone either (I just wanted to clarify this, because the way your post was worded could have implied otherwise). The BEA has different methods and different specific interests than the AKA – our focus is more on education of key policy makers and institutions, so we tend to work more behind-the-scenes – but the overall goal is the same: to ensure that the plant remains legal and available.
January 11, 2017 at 8:23 am
Please sign and share this petition to keep the new administration abreast of kratom and to #KeepKratomLegal
Please sign & share this #AKA official petition to Pres-Elect #Trump to take action on #Kratom.
January 11, 2017 at 9:00 am
A bit of advice to any Florida legislator who co-sponsors Jacobs’s kratom Bill or files a companion Bill in the Florida Senate. Representative Jacobs’ kratom Bill had no co-sponsors or companion legislation filed at the time of her playing the Hitler card. She is done. You can put a fork in her. If you are stupid enough to associate with Jacobs at this point, you are, by default, condoning the use of the Hitler card as well. There is no walking this back. You are being watched and you have been warned.
Katie Lair, LCSW
January 11, 2017 at 10:04 am
As a Jewess, I thought that Kristin Jacobs’s comment comparing kratom advocates to Hitler was very ridiculous, and like you said, trivialized The Holocaust. It was such an absurd comparison that there was a comical side to it too! People throughout history love to compare whomever they do not like to Hitler. You can always find something that somebody has in common with Hitler–he was also a vegetarian who loved animals, so one could ostensibly compare vegetarians and animal lovers to Hitler! I love my cat Mortimer, so I guess I am a little feline-o-phile Hitler. I was watching a comedian, I can’t remember which one now, but he was talking about people who compared Obama to Hitler because he believed in socialized medicine. And the comedian said something like. “Socialized medicine? Socialized medicine was not the big problem that people had with Hitler!”
I also felt like the glassy-eyed shaky-hands comment was over the top as well. I conducted a poll and asked how many people in the kratom consuming community were in the workforce. An overwhelming 69% stated that they were in the workforce. So, the average kratom consumer is a worker or owns their own business! Hardly the picture that Ms. Jacobs is trying to paint. And many of them are employed in what would be considered highly respected positions–social workers, physical therapists, school psychologists, college professor, even C-suite level positions! I understand what Ms. Jacobs is trying to do, but when she makes statements that totally inaccurate, she undermines her own message.
January 11, 2017 at 11:15 am
Amen, God bless you Kendra Jowers
January 11, 2017 at 11:31 am
Thank you so very much for getting this story out there! Kratom changed my life and allowed me to be the person I was struggling struggling to be while battling addiction and pain.
January 11, 2017 at 2:00 pm
I appreciate that the truth about kratom is being shared. It’s not at all like heroin, and the people who use it are just regular folks, not at all the druggies that Jacobs thinks. We need more of this kind of honest reporting, it’s not good for a publication when they publish articles that are full of not just accidental inaccuracies, but outright lies that any decent journalist could have easily caught with a half hour of research. I do have to wonder, since this is the third time Jacobs has tried to ban kratom, and she seems completely willing to trash her professional reputation with extremely unprofessional behavior. Why is she interested in keeping people stuck in their suffering with chronic pain or addictions to opiates or alcohol? What’s in it for her to prevent people from improving their quality of life? Is there a payoff for her, and if so, what is it? Those are some questions I’d like to see answers to. Maybe the journalists here could explore this perplexing issue.
January 11, 2017 at 5:34 pm
Wow those comments are a reflection of her own self, she must feel like Hitler for trying to ban a harmless plant, that helps millions of people everyday. She must know, and feel awful for actions deep in her psyche that she would say such shameful and hateful things about others. About a subject she is very ill informed about, and has no scientific basis for. We must claim our power back as a people and not allow shameful politicians control what we consume. It is solely our choice, not theirs.
January 11, 2017 at 11:36 pm
Correct! We are thousands who have chosen alternative homeopathic means to replace the opioids we were prescribed by physicians. Ms Jacobs might have noticed my alternative state while being treated with numerous meds for chronic fatigue and paint, but she’d never have the slightest idea that the fairly spunky retired professional is a Kratom advocate and uses the leaf daily. The opioids had numerous side effects, the Kratom is as gentle as a morning breeze.
January 12, 2017 at 9:18 am
Kratom is not “homeopathic.” Just FYI. Homeopathy is a particular type of “natural” remedy whereby the supposedly-active ingredient is diluted to the point that it may as well not be in the concoction, and it’s pseudoscientific claptrap. It is moreover based on the nonsense notion that “like cures like.” So, for example, a homeopath would say that a person experiencing heartburn should drink vinegar (or something else acidic) diluted in water. This is simply not true, and kratom has nothing to do with homeopathy.
Near where I live, there is actually a Homeopathy for Children center. It should be illegal. These people are giving parents the hope and notion that they are treating their children’s very real medical conditions, yet homeopathy has long been demonstrated to be an entirely discredited and BS methodology. It is not scientific, it is not medical, it is not ethical; it’s based on the old PT Barnum philosophy, because there is most certainly a credulous person born every minute who will buy into the false and nonsensical claims of homeopathy.
Sorry. I couldn’t let that one go. I’m sure you were using the word “homeopathic” in a different way than its technical sense, but I always feel it necessary to dispel that particular conflation.
January 12, 2017 at 2:22 pm
Kratom and the Impact to Florida
Product #15-141 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Kratom – Mitragyna speciosa The Impact to Florida
Florida Department of Law Enforcement Rick Swearingen, Commissioner
Kratom – Mitragyna speciosa December 2015
…”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 and welfare of Florida residents. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) reports no pervasive health issues attributed to the ingestion of Kratom products in Florida”,,,
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