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On Tuesday, April 28th, 2020, the American Kratom Association — a pro-kratom organization — hosted a virtual Town Hall to introduce their new chairman, former Republican congressman Matt Salmon.

Salmon said he was “thrilled” to lead the organization. During the meeting, he answered several questions and revealed how he hopes to direct the AKA’s efforts.

“People ought to have choices,” stated Salmon, affirming his dedication to defending consumer access to kratom. “My whole political career… I’ve longed championed the idea of using every tool in the toolbox when it comes to healthcare and giving people options. I’m a big believer — almost religiously so — [in] the idea of patient choice and patients and doctors making decisions rather than bureaucrats.”

As a former congressman, Salmon also brings a unique perspective to the AKA. During Tuesday’s meeting, he emphasized how personal testimonials from kratom users have the power to shape public policy.

“…The best advocates are the people that have had their lives made better by this product. Those are the ones that should be out leading the fight when it comes to public perception. And I can tell you — having been a policymaker both at the state level and the federal level — that’s really what policymakers listen to, too.”

Matt Salmon speaking at a Congressional panel at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce's Manufacturer of the Year summit in Phoenix, Arizona

Image by Gage Skidmore on Flickr

Salmon also addressed community criticism of the American Kratom Association’s pro-regulation stance. These critics of the AKA argue that the battle to protect kratom should be fought without implementing regulations or any kind of restrictions on the plant’s use, format, or potency.

“There is not any way on god’s green earth that you’re going to be able to get by without any [kratom] regulation,” said Salmon. “The smart play is to try to put regulation in place that actually protects people, but at the same time, doesn’t limit its best uses. It doesn’t make [kratom] unobtainable for people who need to use it.”

Nonetheless, Salmon seems optimistic about the future of kratom policy in the US. “I see, one year from now, other states having passed [Kratom Consumer Protection Acts] like we’ve passed here in Arizona… I see that happening in many other states,” he commented.

“I see us having the opportunity to sit down with the FDA and negotiate because all the facts are against them. We should do public policy based on science, not hare-brained bureaucratic proclamations … and I think science is on our side.”

Towards the end of the virtual Town Hall meeting, Mac Haddow, the AKA’s Senior Fellow on Public Policy, gave an update on a federal Kratom Consumer Protection Act. Previously, the AKA has worked to pass its pro-kratom KCPA bills on a state-by-state basis. But this bill, which is still in the works, aims to keep kratom legal nationwide.

“We have been negotiating on the language of the federal KCPA for about four months. We are in the final stages of it, and we’re soliciting co-sponsors now. Their names are not going to be made public until we have a common agreement on the specific provisions of the bills.”

Haddow also noted that the COVID-19 epidemic in the United States had delayed the bill’s progress, but that the organization’s efforts will “get back on track quickly.”

To learn more about the American Kratom Association and their campaigns, visit them online here.