A public hearing was held on April 3, 2023, at East Feliciana Parish Policy jury, about a possible kratom ban in the parish. Ascension Parish where Ryan Burroughs of the American Kratom Association spoke in favor of regulations and not bans on Kratom products, and requested that science drive the decisions on regulation.
In 2022, Ascension Parish banned the sale of kratom, with members of LifeHouse Rehabilitation center testifying at the hearing. Rapides Parish banned both the sale and possession of kratom that same year. Livingston Parish attempted to ban, but the motion failed to pass in February 2023.
During the hearing, a councilwoman asked State Senator Caleb Kleinpeter who was in attendance about the status of the Kratom Consumer Protection Act in the state legislature. Senator Kleinpeter, who represents District 17, said that he filed a bill to ban kratom statewide in the senate, and two state representatives filed a similar bill in the house, HB14.
Police groups in both Mississippi and Louisiana have been lobbying heavily to criminalize kratom consumers. At the April 3 meeting in East Feliciana, Sheriff Jeff Travis spoke in favor of the statewide ban. “Our legislative committee with the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association, this is a part of our legislative package this year, are we’re gonna support the ban on kratom.”
On March 31, HB572, the Kratom Consumer Protection Act was introduced in the Louisiana legislature, sponsored by Rep. Jonathan Goudeau. The act will regulate kratom, set an age limitation for sale, and ensure that products have proper labeling and are not adulterated. Burroughs requested a summit with council members to develop a Kratom Consumer Protection Act for East Feliciana Parish as an alternative to a ban.
Burroughs stated that in 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration told the FDA their application for scheduling kratom was insufficient, and the same happened in 2018 under the Trump Administration. The application was denied internationally by the UN Commission on narcotic drugs due to insufficient evidence. The World Health Organization also stated that kratom does not meet the criteria of international scheduling.
Burroughs further stated that Nora Volkow, the director of the National Institute on the Drug Abuse expressed great interest in kratom as a harm reduction tool, as well as a tool in decreasing the effects of withdrawal and depression. The US Congress has also recognized the potential promising results of kratom for acute and chronic pain patients who seek safer alternatives to sometimes dangerously addictive and potentially deadly opioids.
Burroughs mentioned that the Kratom Consumer Protection Act is the answer to the problem of adulterated kratom products. Nine states have passed the kratom consumer protection act, and just recently, Virginia and West Virginia were added to the list. Burroughs stated that the federal Kratom Consumer Protection Act was introduced in December 2022 in the United States Senate by U.S senators Mike Williams of Utah and Cory Booker of New Jersey and in the U.S House of Representatives by Congressman Mark Spokane of Wisconsin.