Kratom Laws in Tennessee
Mitragyna speciose, or kratom as it is commonly known, is experiencing a resurgence of attention in the United States. This is due to the fact that those who were looking for an alternative to traditional medicine and pharmaceutical relief have begun to use kratom more frequently.
However, the federal government is still looking at kratom with a skeptical eye. Some governmental agencies have concerns over possible toxicity of some products that are marketed as kratom, as stated in a recent abstract from the National Institute of Health. Kratom is now being reviewed by the Food and Drug Association thoroughly in order to properly gauge the potential health benefits. This review process is also underway on the state level, with Tennessee being among the top states who have a piqued interest in kratom.
Kratom’s Arrival In Tennessee
As kratom became available to purchase online around 2010 as a natural product, there were many interested parties across the United States who sought it out including those in Tennessee. Many purchasers were looking to reduce usage of pharmaceuticals for conditions where opioids or anti-depressants would be prescribed.
Synthetic kratom flooded the market soon after, and the federal government began to crack down on kratom possession in 2014 in the wake of deaths the FDA states were related to the product. This crackdown included a ban on importing kratom, though many agree that the distinction between synthetic and natural kratom was left out of the action. A public outcry along with support from senators made the FDA and the Drug Enforcement Agency reconsider a plan to label kratom as a Schedule I substance.
The local government in Tennessee also began to take public sentiment towards kratom into account during their legislative sessions.
The Legal Status of Kratom In Tennessee
In early 2018, kratom became legal to possess in the state of Tennessee due to the passage of Tennessee Senate Bill 2258. After some amending points were added, another bill from the state house was signed into law by Governor Bill Haslam in May, 2018. This made kratom legal to purchase and possess if the individual was over 21 years of age. It also stipulates that any kratom that someone bought or was in possession of had to be in its natural form which meant cut, dried and sifted or in raw powder form. It also has to be labeled in a distinct manner.
The laws also exclude kratom in its natural form from being included in a list of Schedule I drugs. Despite this, there was still some uncertainty which led to some people who were in possession of kratom being arrested by law enforcement officials throughout the state. When interviewed, these officials expressed the opinion that they were still dealing with the confusion over the legality of pure kratom and possession in the wake of the bill passage.
This confusion led to the state’s Attorney General, Herbert Slattery III, publishing an opinion in October 2018 supporting the bill. After the publication of the letter, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation stated that they would not prosecute anyone in possession of pure kratom as labeled and described in the laws on the books.
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.