A Look at Why the DEA is Making Kratom Illegal

marijuana card

A Look at Why the DEA is Making Kratom Illegal

Making Kratom Illegal

Kratom leaves.

To the surprise of many, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced last week that kratom – a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia that has been used in many countries for hundreds of years, and has been gaining popularity in the U.S. – will soon be made illegal. It will be placed as a Schedule 1 drug, indicating that it’s one of the most dangerous substances on the planet; this will put it alongside substances such as heroin and cannabis.

Although on the surface one may wonder why the DEA would make this decision – to outlaw another natural substance – when looking a little deeper, it becomes painfully clear: The DEA is establishing another prohibition to help ensure its continued existence once cannabis is inevitably legalized.

Recently the DEA announced that after a “thorough” review, they’re retaining cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, indicating it has no medical value (ignoring dozens of peer-reviewed studies), and is as dangerous as heroin. Despite a public outcry to make a change, the DEA refused to do so, choosing instead to latch on to a complete prohibition (including proper research) that has enriched them as an entity.

Delta Extrax

Despite this decision, it may not be their choice for long; Hillary Clinton, the likely next president (according to most – but not all – recent polling), has said that if elected she will reschedule cannabis. Whether or not she follows through with this, the DEA is fighting a losing battle, and they know it; in just a couple months the U.S. may go from having four legal cannabis states, to nine, and it’s already the case that over half of the country has passed some form of medical cannabis legalization. And despite decades of propaganda, public support for legalization continues to climb rapidly, with support well over 50% in all major polls.

In other words, legalization is inevitable; it’s only a matter of time. Even prohibitionists are starting to see this.

The DEA knows that the popularity of kratom has skyrocketed in recent years. This is for a number of reasons, but a lot of it has to do with it’s usefulness in helping those recovering from addiction to opioids, which has become a public health crisis. For many people, Kratom is also seen as a legal alternative to cannabis, and a safer alternative to other drugs such as heroin.

Due to this popularity, the DEA knows that making it suddenly illegal will undoubtedly create a black-market demand for it. The substance isn’t going to vanish, it will simply be sold by criminals and criminal organizations (or people who are otherwise law-abiding citizen who sees a far-to-tempting means of making money), rather than headshops and online stores.

This new black-market gives the DEA a new beast to fight, and a new group of people to attack. They can now demand the government give them extra resources to fight back this illegal market, and to go after those who dare to continue using a substance they’ve used legally for years.

The DEA will make billions, and best of all for them, this is money they will continue to earn even when cannabis is legalized.

Those sneaky, weasily little devils.


  • Dave
    September 7, 2016

    Disband and defund this obsolete and rogue agency.

    • Anonymous
      September 8, 2016


  • Steve
    September 7, 2016

    Yeah, Hitlary’s party is in power and she’ll reschedule….just another lie.

  • Jefferey Burnside
    September 8, 2016

    I noticed they mention Killary’s idea of rescheduling but omitted the fact that TRUMP says he will legalize in all 50 states. Legalization is much better for the country than rescheduling…. VOTE TRUMP

    • Lev Veland
      September 5, 2020

      *ahem* it’s 2020 and he’s passed more gun control than Obama, I don’t think I should have to highlight where cannabis legalization is at the moment. I hope you have reconsidered your original comment by now.

  • Weezygirl
    September 8, 2016

    If one googles ‘kratom alcoholism’ one will find it has also helped TONS of us who’ve struggled for decades with that addiction as well. While I in no way would ever discount an opiate addiction, its not so socially acceptable, a social ‘lubricant’ and there aren’t opioid stores on every block. Any addiction can be unbearable, opioids and booze particularly so.

    Quick background. I’m female. I was in sales. Daily happy hours were common as was drinking at lunch. Both my parents were ‘recovered/ing’ alkies. In 2007-2008ish I turned my like to sh1t drinking but tend more toward binges.

    In my never-ending search for years to find help with my own alcohol addiction I’d come across Kratom references but more in context for opioid addiction help and for chronic pain. I never pursued it (having tried every pharm and herbal for the most part already, to no or little avail).

    While in Myrtle a few months ago we saw a sign advertising Kratom so I stopped in. You’d think at a head shop the owner would highlight the ‘fun’ factors of this ‘drug’ but instead told me his most frequent customers are people looking to kick or avoid Methadone and elderly folks trying to get off their pain pharms! I was honestly looking for a booze alternative that wasn’t going to make me smashed and that maybe my bf would try since it doesn’t involve smoking (and he’d be thrilled if I didn’t get trashed on booze of course).

    I can attest its a life-saver. Within two days I felt like the addiction part of my brain had been completely excised. I was able to have 2 drinks and stop there (whereas that would, in the past been the start of an ugly night).

    I can’t say enough how great it is. Yeah, there was some euphoria but no high. I never got that after the first few times but that’s okay by me. The really strange thing is along with the ‘excising the addiction’ aspect it brought a both amazing and frightening clarity to how much I’d incorporated booze into so much of my life’s activities even before it became a problem (yeah, I know, it was always there but I didn’t become dependent til about 10 years ago but even in college I drank to excess and was a blackout).

    Illegalizing something that is A) SO beneficial to people with seriously deadly additions and B) has no ‘high’ that I’ve found is ridiculous. Sure, its just a way to make more money but does anyone really TRY this stuff at the DEA? By all means, take some Kratom, drink a bottle of wine, smoke a bowl, snort a line, shoot up and tell me whether Kratom is really the demon here.

    Sure I’m guessing we’ll all find sources illegally but my fear is that now those of us who may be in possession will be lumped in with hard-core dealers and ‘real’ criminals.

    Please refrain from any tendencies to direct me to ‘just quit’ or AA or blahblah. This is about Kratom and how it saved ME and leagues of others.

  • James Alvarado
    September 10, 2016

    Sign pitition https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/ and leave message to DEA administrators # 202-307-7297 and 202-690-7694

  • Ryan
    September 11, 2016

    Kratom prevented my suicide after the crippling death of a friend. It in no way incapacitated me and I was easily able to stop taking it when I reached stability in another phase of my life.

    As a PhD student in chemistry I know very wellittle about kratom’s safety profile. The DEA will fail at this ban or there will be hell to pay.

  • JKB
    September 27, 2016

    The so called “war on drugs” was created as a tool to deal with anti-war protestor and African Americans. This was admitted by John Ehrlichman, who served as Nixon’s domestic policy chief. In fact, in 1972 the Shafer Commission issued a report that called for the decriminalization of cannabis,and this was ignored by good old Nixon. Cannabis was originally placed in schedule 1 on a temporary basis until these findings were reported. Now kratom is being placed “temporarily” in schedule 1 without any official hearings to give voice to the proponents and the scientific community. The DEA, should not have the power to criminalize any substance, but Congress’s knack for giving up power to the executive branch, has again come back to haunt us.

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