Opinion: Kratom Ban: A Bad Idea

powdered kratom

My name is Charles, I’m 37, and I wanted to reach out about the potential kratom ban in Louisiana.

I live in New Orleans, and grew up in St Charles Parish, so to start off I am a local! I have been taking kratom for about five years and I have had no alarming side effects, and have stopped drinking and smoking/vaping as well. I give kratom the credit for being able to stop drinking and I’ve reaped the benefits of living life alcohol free (I lost 15lbs,  lowered blood pressure, have a better complexion, and have more energy, etc.). I also went back to school and am now working in the IT industry. Kratom obviously wasn’t the reason that happened but I can say getting sober was definitely a reason. Beyond that, I’ve met a great community through kratom, something I didn’t expect and will talk about next.

There are two major kratom and kava bars in New Orleans. Both of these spaces offer an array of house-made drinks, many of which do not contain either plant (fresh squeezed juices etc), and both also offer house-made vegan treats. They also offer absolutely no alcohol and have a strict no drugs / no alcohol policy. These spaces function much in the same way as a coffee shop: free WiFi, an inviting community of regulars, and other things like little lending libraries and even plants for sale. The “vibe” is warm and I have met many people who are now friends for life. I’ve attended a wedding, helped people move, and even attended a baby shower because of the folks I’ve met at the bar. A good portion of the community are also folks who are sober from much harder drugs, including heroin and other opiates. I think this is a crucial part of the “kava/kratom bar experience” because it validates these folks and allows them to participate in a community that many of them would not have otherwise. One can argue that this crucial piece acts as a net benefit for the whole city / state and is reason alone to keep kratom legal in Louisiana.

One more thing – the American Kratom Association has been advocating for kratom use in a variety of ways, but perhaps the most important part of their activism is holding kratom suppliers accountable. Their strict production standards weed out bad actors and raise up reputable suppliers with the ability to print a badge on their packaging while also being recognized on AKA’s website. I am all for this kind of regulation and accountability and would love to see bills pushing for this kind of accountability in the state!

Simply banning kratom is a reactionary position to something that isn’t a problem in the first place and has the potential to be a net positive for the state. Education and accountability are keys to progress, not bans. Keep us out of the dark and keep us moving forward.

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