Kratom Laws and Issues in Hawaii
As different natural products have emerged throughout history, they each have been subject to their own process of discovery and scrutiny. For mitragyna speciosa, otherwise known as kratom, this process is still ongoing. Made from the leaves of a tropical tree found in Thailand, kratom was used by indeginous people to alleviate discomfort, boost energy and also aid with digestive issues. The Thai government cracked down on its use through law in 1943, but it only helped to increase the amount of people who flocked to it.
Word spread to other countries in the Southeast Asia and beyond the region about kratom, and it became available in the United States around 2010 thanks to purveyors making it accessible online. Federal authorities observed this developing situation with some wariness due to the natural product’s origins and not having an accurate idea of its effects.
These concerns gained more weight as the years went on kratom was implicated in adverse effects in some residents across the United States. This prompted the Drug Enforcement Agency in 2016 to attempt to implement a ban on kratom nationwide. This was shelved due to the entreaties of a bipartisan group of members of Congress who sided with advocates for more medical research to be conducted on kratom. This left municipal and state governments looking for ways to regulate kratom usage in their areas.
Kratom’s Presence In Hawaii
Hawaii first became acquainted with kratom much like everywhere else in the United States through retailers selling it online. The initial wave of people who tried the natural product did so because of its touted benefits of pain relief. Others sought it out because there were reports of it being a helpful product for those looking to eradicate an addiction to opioid medications.
Whatever their reasons were, this group helped drive up a demand from others who wanted to try kratom. In response, specialty stores and convenience stores began to stock kratom and related products for Hawaiians. With this increase in usage, there was a higher level of scrutiny placed on this activity by local law enforcement. More of this took place as incidents of users suffering toxicity through usage were noted in other states. Another development that caused concern was a nationwide situation where users were infected with salmonella due to a tainted batch in 2018.
Kratom’s Legality In Hawaii
Kratom is still legal to consume, distribute and purchase in the state of Hawaii. State legislators have taken pains to work with law enforcement officials to try to find guidelines for those in Hawaii to use kratom responsibly. This has resulted in amendments to current bills such as S.B.2826 which included kratom in the list of substances to be considered with regards to highway safety.
This legislative work didn’t neglect public opinion, which was bolstered by a letter from the office of the public defender in the state in opposition to the passage of the house bill that led to S.B.2826. Another bill, S.B.641 was introduced in February 2019 that specifically included kratom in the list of intoxicants when it came to highway safety in the state.
Accordingly, it would seem that the state of Hawaii is looking more to the larger public health concerns kratom may pose to the state, as opposed to banning the use of kratom.
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.