DEA

Congressman: DEA May Extend Comment Period on Kratom Ban Amid Public Pressure

After meeting with the DEA administrator, Rep. Mark Pocan says the agency may allow for more public comment on whether to make Kratom a Schedule I drug.

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David Becker / ZUMA Press / Splash News/Newscom

Amid pressure from the public and Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) may delay its decision to put the subtance Kratom on the federal government's list of Schedule I drugs and allow for an extended public comment period, according to a U.S. Congressman who met with the acting DEA administrator on Friday.

Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan of Wisconsin met with acting DEA Administrator Chuck Rosenberg over the proposed ban on Kratom—a leaf from Southeast Asia that has been used for pain-relief for centures—that was expected to go into effect on Friday. "It appears the DEA will instead open up a modified comment process before a final decision will be made," Pocan's office said in a statement. "While we do not know the exacting timing or details of the new comment period for kratom, Acting Administrator Rosenberg assured Congressman Pocan that we will find out more in the near future."

On Aug. 30, the DEA announced it would be temporarily placing Kratom on the list of Schedule I drugs "to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety." As Reason's Jacob Sullum explained, it was a bad and totally predictable decision:

Kratom is a pain-relieving leaf that acts as a stimulant or a sedative, depending on the dose. But the most important thing to know about kratom, if you want to understand the DEA's reasoning, is that it's not from here. Kratom comes from a tree, Mitragyna speciosa, that is native to Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Papua New Guinea. It has gained a following in the United States only recently, hawked by online merchants and head shops as an herbal medicine, "dietary supplement," or legal high. As far as the DEA is concerned, the fact that people in other countries have used kratom for centuries to ease pain, boost work performance, and wean themselves from opiate addiction counts for nothing. All the DEA needs to know is that our shores have been invaded by a foreign drug that is increasingly popular among Americans as a home remedy and recreational intoxicant. From the DEA's perspective, that is intolerable, regardless of the drug's hazards or benefits.

News of the impending ban infuriated U.S. consumers of Kratom, who have lit up phone lines on Capitol Hill to complain. Members of Congress have responded in suit. On Friday, Democratic Senators Cory Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Ron Wyden sent a letter to the DEA espressing concern that the agency' did not leave "a sufficient amount of time for public comment on a drug that, according to recent scientific studies, may actually be an effective substance to help combat the opioid epidemic."

"While we understand there are times when public safety demands that your agency act quickly on scheduling decisions, we believe that in this instance additional time for the scientific community, public health officials, and other members of the public to comment is warranted and may prove to be in the interest of public health and safety," the senators added. "Since 1980, our federal prison population has exploded by nearly 800 percent. This increase is a result of draconian drug policies that continue to place nonviolent drug offenders behind bars. We should not, in haste and without adequate opportunity for comment and analysis, place substances in categories that may be inconsistent with their medical value and potential for abuse."

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77 responses to “Congressman: DEA May Extend Comment Period on Kratom Ban Amid Public Pressure

  1. Already been extended over the weekend, per my local vape and smoke shop.

    Just picked up a good supply of red leaf borneo. I suggest a teaspoon and a half, mixed with 8 ounces of grapefruit juice. Seriously, grapefruit juice is the only thing you’re gonna want to mix this stuff with (blech).

    1. What are the effects like? I guess I could go visit erowid.org, who are coincidentally doing their years pledge drive right now, if people care about independent information about mind-altering drugs being available on the internet…

      Was that too obvious a pitch? LOL! ;D

      1. The effects are very mild, certainly much milder than cannabis or alcohol. But now, if the DEA have their way, you’re a felon with a maximum 10 year prison sentence for even touching it. I fucking hate people, I really do.

        And BTW, I brought this clusterfuck up a couple of weeks ago here on Reason.

        I got some from a friend and was taking it to work and swallowing about a gram of it with my morning coffee, because it wakes you up and makes you quite alert. At least it did for me. The only bad effect I know of with it is that if you take too much, you get sort of nauseous.

        1. You might have been taking the Maeng Da, which is stimulating, while the red leaf borneo is more relaxing.

          But agreed, the DEA is the worst. Latched on to weed after alcohol prohibition was repealed, changed both their name and the name of cannabis (to marihuana), and started on another devastating crusade.

          Fuck them. Hard.

          1. I tried several different ones, including the red borneo. There was one that was my fav, but I can’t remember which one it was now. It was stimulating and quite euphoric.

            1. I like Bali and Indo White.

              1. For me personally, I tried the red Borneo, only after this topic came up here? For my precise model of “bag of biochemicals” that I am, I might have had a slight increase in heart rate, 1st time I tried it? 1 teaspoon to 1 table-spoon range, is what I have been eating. And one time I had some constipation (not much; easily remedied). Other than that? Nada-nada-nada, no changes in moods or thoughts or feelings or anything?

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                  2. https://krakenkratom.com/ for ye would-be kratomic punks out there…

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          2. Henry J. Anslinger
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      2. It’s calming and relaxing, kind of like hyrdocodone, only with less stomach upset, from my experience. I use it maybe once or twice a week to ease stress, and relax.

    2. Use grapefruit with caution.
      CY P450 etc etc.

      1. Ok, Marie Curie, can you elaborate?

          1. Interesting! Maybe that’s why I seem to get a better buzz when I mix it with the grapefruit.

            Did not know that, thanks.

      2. It mixes well with your adderall.

        1. Serious? Cause I’ve got some of that at home, never thought of mixing…

    3. Is it as bad as Kava? That stuff tastes awful.

      1. HELL NO! Nothing tastes as bad as fucking Kava, yee gawds!

        1. Kratom is just powdered leaf. You can just swallow it, you don’t have to drink it like with Kava. Kava is truly fucking awful beyond words. But if you get some good fresh kava, it will mellow you out nicely. Strong ginger ale is about the only chaser for me that keeps me from gagging with the shit.

          1. I get queasy just thinking how awful that stuff was. :[

            1. Lol, I hear you.

        2. Just tried Kava, at a local coffeeshop, and you are right! Mixed it with coffee, and lots of sugar, and damn that shit is gross. But I rather like the feeling, extremely relaxing from what I can tell.

          1. A friend told me about it. I was all excited, so I followed his lead and ordered me some ultra-primo kava. Fucker never told me it tastes like a cup of thick oily sewer sludge.

            1. But yeah, if you get some really good kava, the effect is very nice.

              1. Don’t you know that anything that makes you feel good needs to be controlled by the government and their cronies?

            2. Kava is something you just have to down very quickly. Tastes like toxic sludge but the effects are quite good if you get good stuff.

      2. Go to a sushi bar and have a green tea. Mixed with hot water…tastes like that.

    4. WHAT’S GOING ON IN THIS SUBTHREAD?!!

      *adjusts fanny pack*

    5. Ginger is a good idea also, keeps you from getting nauseous if you over do it. Yeah, it tastes bad and will get stuck in your throat if you don’t have some liquid on hand. I always just put it in my mouth and washed down with a few gulps of water. Then you don’t taste it.

    6. I mix mine with applesauce. I currently have 3+ lbs of it to get rid of. Making the switch to kava, whose taste cannot be hidden.

      1. They’ll ban kava soon enough too. Even more felons to add to the list.

        1. Probably. Although kava became publicly established fast enough that it might be okay. Millennial kids in the “hip” towns have all seen kava bars. If kratom had been more publicly civilized or tied to a cultural practice, I think it may have been alright.

          1. I still bet they will ban kava. It will start out with the public news sociopaths talking about the new scary drug that’s sweeping the nation. Then next thing you know, it’s schedule 1.

  2. Boy, the Obama administration just can’t catch a break this week. First a veto override, now this.

    1. He’s gonna be pissed when he finds out about that on the news!

  3. Schedule I is ridiculous. Schedule anything is ridiculous. Shit is weaker than coffee or benadryl.

      1. Oh, no you don’t with fucking TV Tropes, I have shit planned this weekend…

      2. Shhhh, don’t give them any ideas.

  4. If the DEA hadn’t told me about it, I might never have known.

    Thanks DEA!

    P.S. Robby wouldn’t have told us about it unless someone taking it were wearing a gorilla mask.

    Dicks out for Kratom!

    1. Kratom if you got om.

    2. Well, Ken, after they make it schedule one and you get caught with it, then you’ll know about it. That’s how this works.

  5. And pulled an emergency measure out of their asses to get this on schedule one. Kratom. I tried it several times. It has an effect similar to mixing coffee with Kava Kava. It’s very, very mild stuff. What a fucking joke.

    1. Well that saves me the trouble of trying it. I actually have been able to get a pretty decent relaxation/numbness from Kava Kava before but the stuff tastes so fucking awful it just isn’t worth it.

      1. Kava will also irritate your skin if you use it enough, or so has been reported. The horrific taste is why it will never be too popular. I’m actually shocked that the DEA hasn’t tried to ban it yet, fucking assholes.

        Kratom for me is more of a mild stimulant, although it is also mildly relaxing. You should try it before the dickheads ban it. Just make sure to get it from a reputable source so that it’s good and fresh. I actually like it. Be careful on amount at first, as it will make you nauseous for a while if you take too much.

  6. “to avoid an imminent hazard to public safety.”

    This is beyond fucking insane. What hazard? The DEA needs to cease to exist, now. They are a waste of tax payer dollars and have ruined the lives of and killed thousands and thousands of innocent people. A pox on them.

  7. Hey, maybe if enough people beg the mercy of the DEA to let them please consume a harmless herb, then maybe the DEA will reconsider and put it on schedule 3, so that you can have it if you get a prescription from a doctor and pay 100x the price for it, from the sole supplier, Pfizer drugs. Sounds like a swell deal, America land of the free.

  8. RE: Congressman: DEA May Extend Comment Period on Kratom Ban Amid Public Pressure
    After meeting with the DEA administrator, Rep. Mark Pocan says the agency may allow for more public comment on whether to make Kratom a Schedule I drug.

    Gee, the DEA may extend comment period on Kratom Ban.
    Wasn’t that nice of them?
    Maybe next week they will allow all the little people to inhale and exhale on a regular basis.

  9. Kratom sales are gonna spike now.

    1. And the DEA will hit the biggest jackpot ever. All they need to do is seize the order lists from all the online sellers and then start bashing down doors at 4am the day after the ban. I’m so glad that someone is looking out for the children.

      1. Let’s face it.

        This is what they want.

        Funny how everything resembles the mafia.

        That’s why The Godfather is the most important piece of education ever!

  10. So, would you have to consume it all before it becomes illegal?
    That seems like a big public safety hazard right there.

  11. No more scheduling of controlled substances without at least 2 years of public feedback (elections, RFCs), and a grandfathering clause (if you like your kratom, you can keep your kratom).

    1. Lol. Just like all federal agencies now, the DEA is a completely rogue entity that does whatever it wants to. There are now 55 senators and reps who have joined the call for the DEA to stop this non-sense and the DEA does not give a big fucking rats ass. There are by modest estimates about 3.5 million kratom users in the USA. Poof! Instant 3.5 million felons! What’s not to like?

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  18. “It appears the DEA will instead open up a modified comment process before a final decision will be made”
    I have a question. Who makes the decisions, thew Congress or the DEA? This article gives the impression that the DEA decides what the drug laws are and Congress, like everyone else, just has to live with their decision. Now, I don’t want this comment removed, but honestly this comment should feature a lot of profanity and rhetorical questions. But seriously, who runs this joint, the drug cops?

  19. Well, well. Either the DEA was right, or the DEA was wrong. If this story has any truth, the legislative branch is illegally interfering with the executive branch. The congress-critter’s only lawful path is to generate, and pass, legislation requiring the DEA to change the policy used to slam the ruling through. He does not have the authority to “suggest” the out of policy comment period extension. And since when does public opinion matter? If it was valid policy, following the enacted legislation, then the public be damned. They have to go through their legislators to enact change.
    Or could it possibly be the DEA went just a little bit rogue?

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  24. DEA criteria for schedule I seems to be as:

    1. Is there any well-established medical use? No.
    2. Does the chemical act strongly on the mesolimbic pathway? Yes.

    This rubric defines what belongs in schedule I. The timing of inclusion will rest on the additional question:

    3. Is this a current event that will serve the executive agenda? Yes.

    That determines why the DEA seeks to schedule drugs at particular times.

    DEA chemists are undoubtedly very good at their jobs but there is no direct way to translate their findings to policy.

    For more information: Kratom

  25. “For over 10 years I was addicted to opiates. This all started when 3 discs herniated in my back plus I have had over 40 kidney stones. I am married and have 9-year-old twins and just about ruined everything. I was arrested for doctor shopping, went to drug court to avoid 20 years in jail and it didn’t stop me once I graduated. My wife left me with the kids (don’t blame her) and I still never quit the pills. I found Kratom 3 or 4 years ago and haven’t abused opiates since. I have had to take them for kidney stones but turn them in when the stones pass. Kratom literally saved my life and family. I can’t say enough about how wonderful it is. I was recently diagnosed with a malformation in my brain and here come the doctors throwing pills at me. I refuse to take them. Kratom keeps the pain for my head and back to a manageable level and life is getting better daily. I will have to have brain surgery but will deal with that when it comes. They are trying to make Kratom illegal in Ky and it’s not right. Anyway, that is the short version but I can’t say enough positive things about it.
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