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The DEA Will Not Ban Kratom, Wants Experts To Weigh In

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JP Carroll National Security & Foreign Affairs Reporter
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The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is walking back a proposed ban of Kratom, a plant found in energy drinks and tea that helps fight opioid addiction.

DEA reversed its decision to ban Kratom, according to the Federal Register Thursday, after filing a notice of intent Aug. 31 to temporarily ban plant sales. Had the DEA left its notice of intent in place, which went into effect Sept. 30, Kratom would have remained classified as a Schedule I narcotic.

Typically when the DEA announces it will temporarily ban a substance, there is a period of time that experts can weigh in to comment on why they believe the federal authority should or should not go ahead with a ban. Thanks to the withdrawing the Notice of Intent, concerned parties can now give the DEA a piece of their mind regarding Kratom up until December 1, 2016.

Kratom can be found in tea as well as many energy drinks. The plant and its chemical properties have shown the capability of assisting opioid addicts wean themselves off of their destructive addiction to heroin or painkillers.

Shortly after the DEA announced its intention to temporarily ban Kratom without a period of tie for public comment, a DEA spokesman told The Daily Caller News Foundation that, “I’m sure there will come a time when they will have that opportunity, particularly when it comes to permanent scheduling; but right now this is viewed as an imminent public health and safety threat and that’s the step we took.”

Fifty-one members of the U.S. House of Representatives and nine U.S. Senators expressed their disagreement with the DEA and its proposed Kratom ban in the form of two bipartisan letters in September. Supporters of Kratom use even petitioned the White House about the temporary ban, asking the Obama Administration to justify classifying the plant as a Schedule I narcotic.

While the DEA is backing off of Kratom, the plant is still banned in several U.S. states. Indiana, Vermont, Wisconsin, Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas all currently ban the plant.

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