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On Monday, June 1st, 2020, Mississippi legislators voted to repeal an active kratom ban in Monroe County. Although the vote was split 3-2 against the ban, the ban was ultimately rescinded.
The county’s decision to repeal the ban followed testimonies from business owners and kratom advocates, who praised the plant’s properties and uses.
Monroe County originally passed their kratom ban in March 2019. The ban made it illegal to use, possess, purchase, distribute, or sell the plant throughout the county. After the ban passed, resident kratom consumers in Monroe County were forced to buy and use their kratom products elsewhere or risk breaking the law.
Now, for the first time in over a year, kratom consumers in Monroe County can begin purchasing or selling kratom products without encountering legal difficulties.
Monroe County isn’t the first jurisdiction in Mississippi to ban kratom. According to the Daily Journal, six other counties and seven cities in North Mississippi have enacted similar bans in response to recommendations from the Crime and Addiction Task Force.
In March 2019, the same Task Force attempted to help pass a statewide Mississippi kratom ban, but the bill died in committee. If passed, the bill would’ve classified kratom as a Schedule I substance throughout Mississippi, putting it in the same category as drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Soon after Monroe County repealed their kratom ban, The American Kratom Association (AKA), a pro-kratom advocacy group, spoke in favour of Monroe County’s decision.
“Thanks to the work of kratom supporters who passionately asked the Board to reconsider the ban, the Supervisors voted to lift the countywide ban on kratom,” representatives of the AKA wrote in an email sent out to supporters. “While Monroe County has a smaller population of around 35,000, this brave act by these Supervisors signals that our message is getting through.”