Kratom Alert: Update from the American Kratom Association

In Washington DC, the Congress has left for their summer recess, but that does not mean that the attack on kratom by the DEA has stopped in any way.

Our lobbying team has been working feverishly to protect kratom from the latest threat in the form of the SITSA Act.

The broad expansion of the powers of the Attorney General and the DEA that will be given under SITSA to schedule substances they don’t like is clear and disturbing. The controversy among some is whether the SITSA Act would give the DEA the power to schedule kratom under the new “Schedule A.”

Because the language is overly broad and vague, there are some who believe — even in our own community — that SITSA will only apply to “synthetic analogues” of already controlled substances.

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The American Kratom Association (AKA) put that question to the test with one of the most respected law firms in Washington DC who helped us defeat the emergency scheduling order of the DEA last year.

Their conclusion: The SITSA language, as currently drafted, will allow the Attorney General and the DEA to schedule kratom, if they choose to do so, using the justification they provided in the emergency scheduling order they were forced to withdraw last year.

The AKA then asked Dr. Jack Henningfield, the author of the 8-Factor Analysis that stopped the DEA in its tracks when they tried to schedule kratom last year.  Dr. Henningfield agreed with the law firm analysis.

The truth is, the current language in SITSA would present a threat to kratom being scheduled by any overly aggressive Attorney General or DEA Administrator.

This is not an exaggeration, hyperbole or scare tactics – this is the strong opinion from our team of experts.

Under the current Control Substances Act (CSA), the DEA has to conclusively demonstrate that a substance they seek to schedule has to pose an imminent safety threat to the public, and that the substance they seek to schedule is dangerously addictive.

The CSA requires the DEA to prove that threat and addiction level of any substance they propose to schedule with scientific studies that the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) agrees, in consultation with the Assistant Secretary of Health and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), justifies that scheduling.

If consumers disagree, there is a procedure of judicial review and Public Hearings to challenge the DEA scheduling action.  The current process provides some level of checks and balances to an overly aggressive government.

Under the proposed language of SITSA, no scientific studies are required, no substantive review by HHS or NIDA, and there is no judicial review allowed to challenge any decision by the DEA to schedule a substance into Schedule A

I spent my professional career as an investment banker and every single decision I made was based upon a risk assessment to determine whether I could trust the people I was dealing with.

I will candidly admit that I do not trust the DEA to make the decision about whether to schedule kratom when there is no scientific review by HHS, NIDA, or the right of a citizen to challenge the scheduling action in court.

But I have also heard those who honestly believe that SITSA will not apply to kratom because it is not a “synthetic analogue.”

Even though “synthetic analogues” is the language that is contained in the title of this proposed legislation, that is not what the language of the proposed bill actually says.

So I decided to test my theory about whether SITSA would allow the DEA to schedule kratom, and therefore whether the DEA can be trusted or not on this issue.

With the approval of the AKA Board of Directors, we instructed our Washington lobbying team to ask for a simple amendment to SITSA.

The amendment would basically provide as follows:

“Nothing in this Act shall be construed to permit the Attorney General to schedule a natural botanical substance, including any constituents, compounds or extracts of a natural botanical substance. Should the Attorney General determine that any natural botanical substance meets the criteria for scheduling under Title 21 U.S.C., the Controlled Substances Act, such scheduling shall be proposed under that authority.”

If the claims by the supporters of SITSA are true, there would be no objection to specifically exempting natural botanical substances from the provisions of the proposed SITSA bill.

But apparently the DEA does object.

I was informed that the DEA “does not want any restrictions placed on their ability to take dangerous drugs off the streets”.

That is just classic Washington doublespeak.

If what the DEA wants is the authority to go after synthetic analogues of already controlled substances, they should have no problem with exempting natural botanical substances from SITSA.

But it appears the DEA desperately wants to call kratom a dangerous drug and have the authority to ban it when given through SITSA.

If the DEA wants to claim that any natural botanical substance poses a public health safety risk, or is dangerously addictive, they can still use the CSA to do just that.

That’s why I do not trust the DEA when it comes to kratom.

And neither should you.

That’s why we are going to keep up our aggressive fight to protect kratom from being subject to scheduling in SITSA.

That’s why we built a team of experts – including a top law firm, the preeminent scientist in the dietary supplement safety and addiction area, and a top lobbying group.

I say “we” because we truly have done this together.

And I have to ask you once again to help with a contribution so that we can keep this team working for us to stop this power-grab by the DEA in its tracks.

I can also tell you that the AKA has already begun face-to-face discussions with state legislators in Alabama, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Arkansas about repealing the existing bans on kratom in their states.

Not promises, empty rhetoric, or just sending general letters to state legislators.

The AKA has conducted face-to-face meetings where we are getting commitments to repeal the bans on kratom.  We are excited about the progress our team is making on these state bans.

We will not stop until we have completed those discussions and secured commitments from legislators in all of the states that currently ban kratom to sponsor repeal legislation or assist with medical and pharmacy boards to remove kratom from their controlled substances lists.

When we have had the opportunity to explain in depth the 8-Factor Analysis by Dr. Henningfield, these state legislators are listening. The science is on our side.

At the AKA, we will continue backing up requests for donations with real, concrete results.

We desperately need your help to keep the pressure on and protect our freedom to make our own decisions about how we manage our health and well-being.

Please send your contribution today at

In addition, I want to let you know that I will be sending another Alert to you early next week on an exciting and important initiative to address the role that kratom can play providing real help in addressing the opioid epidemic in America.

Watch for my email on this new initiative to arrive Monday or Tuesday.

Also, if you have not yet done so, please sign the petition to the US Senate and House opposing SITSA.  If you have signed it, get every friend and family member to sign it too.

Here is the link:

The great news is that we currently have 23,155 signatures on that petition.

Every kratom supporter needs to sign this petition so that when Congress reconvenes in September, we will deliver a powerful, united message from the kratom community.

It is about our freedoms, and our right to make our own decisions on using kratom without unfair interference from the DEA or the FDA.

So please, click the following link and make as generous a donation as you can to this effort.  We need your support now more than ever. 

Working together, we will win – #IAMKRATOM, #WeAreKratom.

With gratitude for all you do for keeping kratom legal,

Reprinted with permission from The American Kratom Association

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