DEA Takes Unprecedented Step After Major Outcry Marked by U.S. Senate and House Letters, National “We the People” Petition, White House March, and Other Major Action.
WASHINGTON, D.C.///October 12, 2016/// The American Kratom Association (AKA) and Botanical Education Alliance (BEA) applauded the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for responding to the major public backlash triggered by the federal agency’s push in late August to classify the coffee-like herb kratom as a schedule I drug. AKA and BEA credited consumers, the kratom industry, and U.S. House and Senate members as being responsible for the step back taken by the DEA, but emphasized that “much more work” remains to be done during and after the now-planned public comment period running through December 1, 2016.
In a joint statement issued by American Kratom Association Director Susan Ash and Botanical Education Alliance Director Travis Lowin, the two groups said:
“Today’s victory for consumers is the first step to ending the DEA push to classify kratom as a schedule 1 drug. While we applaud the agency for opening up a public comment period running through December 1st, everyone needs to understand that this is just the beginning of the fight and much more work remains to be done. We cannot and will not rest until the cloud created by the DEA is completely removed over the heads of our legal industry and three-five million kratom users.
Kratom is an all-natural product. Kratom is not an opiate. It is not addictive. It has been used safely and without deaths for hundreds of years. There is simply no basis whatsoever for the DEA to criminalize or regulate the responsible use by consumers of this product at a time when every federal effort targeting drugs should be focused on the ongoing scourge human of opioid addiction and death.
Our bottom line is clear: Kratom should not be scheduled by the DEA and our industry and the consumers who patronize it should be allowed to continue on unhindered by federal regulatory overreach.
It is important to reflect on how our two associations brought together the kratom industry and consumer community to achieve this unprecedented step from the DEA. The “We The People” petition launched by the AKA/BEA targeting the White House has accumulated more than 142,000 signatures to date. We came together in September for a successful and widely publicized March for Kratom at the White House. Nearly 200 news stories have been promoted since then to help insure that kratom is correctly understood and not subjected to ‘Reefer Madness’ demonization. And thousands of consumers have taken to social media to express their support for kratom, posting, among other things, tens of thousands of YouTube testimonials.
We also are eager to recognize and salute the important work of the elected officials who we engaged with, who have taken the DEA to task over the attack on kratom. On September 26th, a bipartisan group of 51 US House Members led by Rep. Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Rep. Matt Salmon (R-AZ) sent letters to the DEA and Office of Management and Budget urging that the DEA halt an emergency push to ban kratom. The DEA and OMB letters were signed by 28 Democrats and 23 Republicans, including two medical doctors serving in Congress. The signers represented Congressional Districts in 25 states, including California, Georgia, Colorado, Florida, Virginia, New York state, and Texas.
On October 1st, a politically diverse group of 11 Senators, including Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), joined together in a set of two letters urging that the DEA halt the proposed scheduling and allow for a regular rulemaking process permitting the public, scientific experts, and the Congress to provide input. The Senators specifically objected to the use of the emergency authority authorized by the statute that was intended only for circumstances where an ‘immediate threat to the public safety’ exists and noted that using this authority for a natural substance was ‘unprecedented.’
We urge people to remember what things looked like in early September. They said it was impossible. They said we could not get to this stage of the DEA taking an unprecedented step backwards. The truth is that we have achieved monumental things to date working together as industry and consumers. Much more time, effort, and resources will be needed from all of us to win this fight.”
The America Kratom Association, a consumer-based non-profit, is here to set the record straight, giving voice to the suffering and our rights to possess and consume kratom. AKA represents tens of thousands of Americans; each with a unique story to tell about the virtues of kratom and its positive effects on our lives.
The Botanical Education Alliance is an organization dedicated to educating consumers, lawmakers, law enforcement, and the media about safe and therapeutic natural supplements including Mitragyna speciosa, also known as kratom. BEA’s mission is to increase understanding in order to influence public policy and protect natural supplements. The vision of the Alliance is to create a society where every adult has the right to access safe and effective natural supplements.