In a surprising move the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has announced that they are withdrawing their recently-announced emergency ban on kratom – which would have placed it as a schedule 1 drug – and instead are opening up a public comment period. The announcement was made on a post in the Federal Register. The public comment period will end on December 1st.
“This is a truly remarkable moment to see the Drug Enforcement Administration, a law enforcement agency with a long track record of ignoring both science and public opinion, being forced to consider the scientific evidence and public opinion before taking additional steps with respect to kratom,” says Grant Smith, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “People who oppose a federal kratom ban only have about six weeks to tell the federal government that kratom does not belong in our broken drug scheduling system.”
The reversal from the DEA comes amid massive pressure to stop the ban, including a WhiteHouse.org petition which received over 140,000 signatures in a 30-day period (over 100,000 of which came in the first few days).
Kratom is a tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. It’s been used in numerous countries for hundreds of years for its therapeutic properties, such as the alleged ability to relieve stress and anxiety. Currently there are only a few states in the U.S. that have outlawed its use.