As the federal and state lawmakers struggle with the debate on legalizing marijuana – especially in light of the number states that have passed medical marijuana laws – there is another plant that has been quietly, but quickly, become another issue for law enforcement.
Kratom is a green, leafy herb which is native to Southeast Asia. Its leaves are used as a pain reliever or mood enhancer, often a substitute for opiates. It is usually ingested by either brewing the leaves into tea or manufactured into pill form. It has been described by one law enforcement official as a legal form of heroin, with the hallucinogenic effects of LSD. It is currently illegal in much of Asia and all of Australia. It is legal to purchase and sell kratom in the United Kingdom and Canada.
In this country, the drug is not illegal; however, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has placed it on its “drug of concern” list. This is because, according to the DEA, the drug has no “legitimate medical use” despite being sold on numerous internet sites as an alternative medicine product. The herb is touted as not only an alternative to prescription pain medications, but also as an effective use for treatment of heroin and morphine addiction.
In Illinois, a new law which bans the drug for minors went into effect in January. Many stores in Illinois continue to sell the drug in its pill form, enabling anyone to walk in and purchase the product. Not only does the law provide penalties for a minor who is in possession of the drug, but it also provides criminal penalties to anyone who sells kratom to a minor. The drug has been completely banned in Indiana and other states are also considering banning it.
Although kratom is not illegal under federal law, there have been stringent crackdowns by law enforcement on the herb’s entry into this country. Government agents gain court permission to seize the herb under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, claiming that they have the right to do so because kratom is “an unapproved new drug and a misbranded drug.”
Although possession and use of kratom is not yet illegal for adults, it appears that law enforcement officials are piggy-backing on other laws, claiming illegal possession. If you have been charged with a crime associated with the use of kratom – or any other drug crimes – contact an experienced DuPage County criminal defense attorney. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today for a free consultation.