White House Will Have To Justify Kratom Ban

JP Carroll | National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter

A petition asking the White House to not classify Kratom as a Schedule I drug passed the 100,000 signature mark Thursday, triggering a response from the Obama Administration.

“Please do not make Kratom a Schedule I Substance,” is the name of the petition on the White House petition site. The petition was created Aug. 30 in response to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) decision to temporarily classify the plant Kratom, a Schedule I narcotic.

The DEA filed a Notice of Intent Aug. 31 and caused great outrage among Kratom users not only for temporarily restricting the plant’s availability, but also for not allowing experts to weigh in on the matter. When scheduling the drug, the DEA traditionally allows for a notice and comment period in which interested parties can make their case to the DEA about why a substance should not be scheduled.

The temporary Schedule I classification of Kratom goes into effect Sept. 30. White House petition response policy states that if a petition gets over 100,000 signatures within 30 days, the White House will respond within 60 days of that threshold having been reached.

Kratom can be found in teas and is known for helping heroin addicts wean themselves off of the deadly drug. The plant’s key chemical properties can be found in energy drinks as well as in pills and powders. Due to the 60 day window in which the White House can respond to a petition and the Kratom ban getting underway Sept. 30, it is unclear if a response will come in time to stop the scheduling.

Regardless of the outcome at the federal level, Kratom has already been banned in Vermont, Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Alabama, and Arkansas.

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