On Friday, May 22nd, 2020, rumors of a kratom ban in Ohio were validated by the American Kratom Association (AKA), a pro-kratom organization that is actively involved in American kratom legislation.
News of the tentative ban, which would prohibit the sale of kratom products intended for human consumption, came as a shock to many in the kratom community. Historically, kratom has been legal to buy, sell, and use throughout the state. And less than a year ago, Ohio legislators withdrew their support for a ban after reviewing the testimonies of over 200 kratom advocates.
"The American Kratom Association is reviewing this issue right now with both our attorneys and government relations team," wrote AKA representative Mac Haddow in an email to AKA supporters. "We are waiting for specific documentation on the basis for the action being taken by the Ohio Department of Agriculture."
In his email, Haddow also advised kratom advocates to hold off on taking personal action against the ban. Instead, he recommended launching a "coordinated campaign to correct this overreach of regulatory authority" that would begin with signatures supporting a letter to Ohioan Governor Mike DeWine. Haddow also wrote that AKA supporters could expect to receive more details about the organization's plan of action in an email on Wednesday, May 27th, 2020.
Ohio isn't the first US state to consider a kratom ban. As of this writing, Wisconsin, Indiana, Arkansas, and Alabama have all banned the plant, and other states have expressed interest in enforcing similar restrictions.
However, the AKA has been successful in delaying and preventing many statewide kratom bans. The organization has also influenced policy directly with their Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA), a bill that aims to promote safe access to the plant. As of this writing, versions of the KCPA have been adopted by several states: namely, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and Georgia. On September 24th, 2019, a version of the KCPA was also proposed in Ohio, but not passed.
Since then, though, progress on the frontlines of kratom's legislative war has been slow. In a recent video, Haddow admitted that the COVID-19 pandemic had delayed the organization's efforts to pass the KCPA elsewhere. According to Haddow, US legislators have decided to focus solely on legislation that concerns budget shortfalls and health. As a result, all other sessions regarding "non-critical" matters, such as kratom, have fallen to the wayside.
"...It's likely that we're going to have to wait until 2021 to start those battles again," Haddow said.
Nonetheless, Haddow reaffirmed his organization's dedication to their cause. "We are committed in January of 2021 to be back into the fray, and we're going to continue to work hard to make sure that the American public is protected from the FDA's war on kratom and pass as many [Kratom Consumer Protection Acts] in as many states as we can."
For more information about the American Kratom Association, visit them at AmericanKratom.org.