Man Held in Arkansas Jail for 8 Months on Kratom Charge for Carrying Moringa


“In April of 2022, he was arrested for having kratom. And the kratom turned out not to be kratom.”

In a video posted on Facebook by Attorney W. Whitfield “Whit” Hyman on November 21, 2023, Hyman speaks on the case of Scott Cook, who is sitting in the passenger seat of Hyman’s vehicle.

Cook was arrested in April 2022 in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Officers thought the green powder he was carrying was kratom, which is illegal in the state. The substance turned out to be moringa, which Cook described in the video as a “super food”. Morninga is legal in every state, including Arkansas.

“I sat in jail for 8 months. I was attacked by gangs. Horrible things happened to me,” said Cook.

“What’s sad is…he gets a $2500 bond,” describes Hyman, “which is normally nothing, to get out on a $2500 bond, but he doesn’t know anybody here. They impound his car, and they have all of his worldly possessions, and he can’t get out.”

At the time the video was taken, Cook described himself as employed but homeless.

“I had a life. I had a wife and child. I have no contact with them now. I don’t know where they’re at,” said Cook.

It wasn’t until January 6, 2023 that a motion for “nolle prosequi” was issued by the Circuit Court of Sebastian County, Fort Smith District, following a lab test of the substance Cook was carrying that tested negative for kratom.

Nearly one year ago, Marshall Price, who was sentenced for 10 years in prison for “trafficking” 250 grams of kratom he purchased in Missouri. While in Green County Jail, he was killed in prison under suspicious circumstances. So far, no one has been arrested in association with his death.

The group Botanical Action Network has been working with the family of price, with anti-police corruption groups, and with award winning journalists to get to the bottom of this case.



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