Louisiana just passed a law regulating a nonexistent substance called “mitragynine speciosa”

Pay attention to the spelling of the terms in italics, especially if you’re a Louisiana legislator.

Mitragyna speciosa is the scientific term for kratom. Mitragynine is the term for an alkaloid in the kratom plant (usually the most abundant alkaloid present). Mitragynine speciosa is not a thing, but that didn’t stop it from being regulated in a law sponsored by Senator Caleb Kleinpeter and signed by Louisiana Governor John Edwards.

SB94 began as a bill wanting to ban mitragynine speciosa, whatever that is… presumably kratom. After enormous effort and push-back by Louisiana kratom consumers, Kleinpeter testified in the Louisiana House that his own bill, which had already passed both the house and senate, be amended to be a bill regulating, rather than banning “mitragynine speciosa“.

Similarly, in 2016, Alabama passed a law banning mitragynine and a compound they called hydroxymitragynine, which as far as we know, doesn’t exist. The compound 7-hydroxymitragynine is a metabolite of mitragynine which sometimes occurs in very trace amounts in kratom. Alabama also defined these natural plant-derived compounds as “synthetic” in their law.

“No person shall sell or distribute or cause to be sold or distributed a product containing mitragynine speciosa to any person under the age of twenty-one.”

– Louisiana SB94, effective August 1, 2023

The bill also leaves the option open for Louisiana parishes to restrict or regulate the sale of “mitragynine speciosa“.


The spelling error may not render the law null and void. The text of the law defines the made-up term mitragynine speciosa to mean anything that contains two specific kratom alkaloids.

“mitragynine speciosa” means a product containing either or both of the following:
(a) Mitragynine.
(b) 7-Hydroxy-mitragynine.

6 thoughts on “Louisiana just passed a law regulating a nonexistent substance called “mitragynine speciosa””

  1. This is the result of gross ineptitude combined with an unusually urgent need to ban and criminalize a plant they know nothing about. Check the video archives of the committee hearings–over half the legislators had to “google it”. An interesting question would be if Sen Kleinpeter’s SB94 in its original form (a scheduling ban bill) had passed, would they still be able to charge people with felony possession and possession with intent to distribute a “controlled dangerous substance”? Any shop owner selling kratom should make damn sure they check every ID, else they “make an example” out of someone. Let’s hope they leave kratom alone next year.

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