What Is Kratom and Is it Legal in New York?

Aug 7, 2019 2:55 PM ET

The U.S citizens have fallen for kratom, a herbal plant, scientifically called Mitragyna speciosa. People are using it for recreational as well as medical purposes in the form of powder, pills, and liquid. It might have recently gained popularity in the U.S., but it has been used in its native land as long as the 1800s. It is a native plant of Southeast Asian countries Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. Many American local head shops and online stores like Kratom Crazy are buying it from these native countries to sell it to U.S. citizens who are going gage over it.

But despite being favorite of so many people, kratom is a controversial plant. Its growing popularity has sensitized medical and drug-related state departments who are showing concerns on its usage. But the question is: why this magical plant is garnering love and hate at the same time?

Why is Kratom so Controversial?

The fact that despite many people are seeking kratom but it is not legalized to market it as a drug or even as a dietary supplement in the U.S. shows the extent of its controversial status.

Back in 2016, it was put under Schedule 1 Category by DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) which means it was declared to have no medical value, but high abuse potential. Though DEA withdrew its decision in the same year because of public remonstration on its ban, things are still not all good.

The FDA (Food and Drug Association) has issued many reports since 2016 to indicate the health risks of this drug. Like, in its January 2016 report, it associated many health issues with kratom including tremor, agitation, depression, sleeplessness, nausea, nervousness, constipation, hallucinations, skin hyperpigmentation, etc. The FDA has also received some reports associating deaths with kratom usage.

But FDA has shown serious concerns about its high abuse potential because of its compounds mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine, which bind to µ-opioid receptors. These compounds cause the same opioid-like effect, like high abuse drugs, including morphine, heroin, etc.

Due to these reasons, the FDA has done many crackdowns on sellers of kratom in New York and many other cities who made unproven claims about kratom. But is kratom legal in New York?

The legality of Kratom in New York:

Federal Minister has not banned the usage of kratom, but it is banned in Washington D.C., six states and some cities of states where kratom is legal, according to the American Kratom Association. You can’t buy, possess, grow and sell kratom in states of Indiana, Alabama, Rhode Island, Vermont, Arkansas, and Wisconsin. Whereas, New Hampshire and Tennessee have applied an age limit of 18 and 21 years, respectively to be eligible for kratom usage.

Which means kratom is still legal in New York City and growing in popularity among its citizens. However, in recent years, several bills were presented to ban or apply an age limit on its usage. From 2017 to 2018, three different bills were presented on kratom. Two of them proposed an age limit of 18 years for kratom usage. Whereas, one bill was intended to ban kratom altogether. But all these bills didn’t get approved due to public outcry.

So, till date, kratom is legal in New York, and you can buy it from drug shops and cafes.

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