Washington D.C. Kratom Laws and Issues
As a natural product, kratom has become the subject of an intense debate in the United States. It is the latest phase in a journey that has seen it rise from the tropical expanses of Thailand to being a global phenomena.
Kratom, or mitragyna speciosa as it is scientifically known, became popular among the indigenous people for its properties of pain relief dating back to the middle of the 1800’s and earlier. When officials there put a law in place to ban it in 1943, it only sparked more interest in kratom which helped it become notable across borders.
Countries in Europe began to take note of kratom and then word of it reached the United States. Much like the other countries, federal authorities here eyed the rising trend of those using kratom with some doubts because of the lack of research into its components. Incidents where users suffered health issues began to appear across the country, and this compelled the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2016 to try to ban kratom through classification reserved for powerful narcotics.
A large bipartisan group of members from Congress intervened to ask them to reconsider. This was due to a significant response from their constituents about the benefits they received from taking kratom. With that, the guidelines on how to treat kratom usage in each state and municipality were left to their respective governments.
Kratom’s Presence In Washington D.C.
The nation’s capital first got wind of kratom around 2010, at the same time the rest of America became aware of it. This occurred due to it being more available through different retailers on the Internet. There was an initial wave of people who took kratom that had favorable reviews of it, pointing to how it helped them deal with the daily discomfort they suffered from various medical conditions.
Another benefit of note that drew people to kratom was the potential it offered to help deal with the adverse effects of addiction to opioids, which had become prevalent in Washington D.C. and around the country. With demand growing, some convenience store owners and those who operated smoke shops began to carry kratom in stock.
Law enforcement officials in the District were a bit concerned with this trend, and their communication with federal bodies like the Food and Drug Administration only bolstered their worries. This was stoked as reports of abuse of kratom from some users and an uptick of incidents of poisoning were coming in from other states.
Kratom’s Legality In Washington D.C.
Currently, kratom is legal to purchase, consume and distribute in the District Of Columbia. But this wasn’t always the case. In 2016, as a response to the initial attempts by the DEA to ban kratom, legislative officials in the District introduced a ban on one of the primary alkaloids that is found in it. This alkaloid, 7-hydroxymitragynine, is one that has been targeted by other state legislatures in their bills. But public pressure from groups advocating for more medical research on a large scale convinced the city council to remove it from the list of banned substances in 2018.
At the moment, there isn’t any proposed legislation in the works to provide more detailed guidelines on kratom regulation.
For more information on kratom laws across the country, check out our Kratom Legality Map.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Adminstration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.