In recent times, many online news websites, social media, and other sources are spreading the rumor that kratom might be classified as a Schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) by the DEA. For this reason, concern and confusion are rising among kratom vendors and users. That’s why it is important to be prepared and understand how the scheduling process work, to know exactly what to do if kratom is banned.
Last week, we had the pleasure to attend a webinar hosted by the American Kratom Association on this subject. Keep reading below to find the key points of the webinar.
How Does the Scheduling Process Work?
To schedule a substance under the CSA, the following process will be followed:
- Federal Register Notice – This will trigger the following step.
- 30-day Comment Period – Comments might be submitted not only by kratom consumers but also by scientists, researchers, law enforcement officers, etc. This is a very important part of the process. Hence, the kratom community must be heavily involved in the comment period. So, it is crucial that not only kratom users but also family and supporters participate in the public comment period.
- An “Interested Party” can request a Public Hearing – This includes anyone that might be impacted by the DEA’s decision to schedule kratom (i.e.: manufacturers, vendors, and distributors).
- All Public Hearings are heard by a DEA Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) – This process will take between 4 and 18 months.
- ALJ makes a decision
- Final Order by DEA Administrator – Typically, this will happen after 2-6 months.
In conclusion, this is a very long and complicated process that can take up to 2 years. And, during this period, selling, using and possessing kratom will remain legal.
Additionally, an adverse decision will trigger an appeal to the Federal District Court. There’s no specific period for this review, so it may happen at any time.
What Is the Argument to Deny Scheduling?
There are two arguments that can be used against the FDA recommendation in order to deny kratom scheduling:
- The FDA failed to meet its 8-Factor Analysis on science and it’s based on inaccurate and biased information.
- The FDA failed to meet the standards required under the Controlled Substances Act.
What to Do If Kratom Is Banned?
In the event that the DEA publishes a notice of intent to schedule kratom, the American Kratom Association will take the following steps:
- Work together with their legal team to find the best options to keep kratom legal, using best practices.
- Encourage kratom users and supporters to participate in the scheduling process, by organizing rallies, etc.
- Engage all resources to fight the scheduling process.
But, you, as an individual can also help by taking the following actions:
- Participate in the comment period.
- Contact your Congress Representatives.
- Stay unified with the AKA team.
What Happens If Kratom Is Banned?
If kratom is scheduled, it will become a controlled substance, just like heroin, or cocaine. So, possessing kratom will be a crime. But, what does “possession mean”? Basically, it means having personal physical control over the substance, even if it’s partial. Which means that if, for example, someone in the family keeps the substance at home, anyone within the household could face possession charges.
Don’t forget there are many ways in which the law enforcement can find out that you possess a controlled substance, i.e.:
- They find the substance in your car at a traffic stop
- Disclosures by vendors (a Judge may request vendors to give them their customers’ list)
So, in the event that kratom is banned and you are charged with possession, you should get a lawyer to fight for you. And you should not rely on family or friends’ advice or look for help on the internet.
Despite all the above, the American Kratom Association reckons that currently, there is no immediate threat of kratom being scheduled. In fact, NIDA has recently issued a $3.5 million grant to the University of Florida to research kratom as a potential pain relief therapy. And, scheduling kratom would make it very hard to carry on research.
Nevertheless, we encourage you to keep informed and get involved in the fight to keep kratom legal.
Source: American Kratom Association – Listen to the AKA webinar