Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) is a substance sourced from the leaves of a Kratom tree. Its active compounds — alkaloids — are the reason behind its popularity, but they have also given rise to a discussion over the legal status of Kratom.
The plant is legal in most places in the world, save from a few countries that decided to schedule Kratom as an illicit substance.
Where Can You Legally Buy Kratom?
If you live in one of the countries we discuss in this section, you may consider yourself lucky to find a kratom shop or online store near you. These regions have Kratom-friendly laws and offer a wide range of different Kratom goods.
The legal status of Kratom in Canada is a bit fogged and the plant remains in a grey area, similarly to how the situation looks in the United States.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has deemed Kratom illegal if one sells it or possesses it with an intent to consume. Such regulations have created a loophole for Kratom vendors and users; namely, kratom can be purchased as powder and capsules as long as it’s not meant for ingestion.
Currently, there is no reliable information on the legal status of Kratom of South American countries other than Brazil.
In Brazil, Kratom is legal to grow, sell, and posses regardless of the purpose.
Because of the lack of evidence around the effects of Kratom and potential long-term benefits or dangers, alongside how it’s viewed by the authorities in the United States, the legal status of the plant is broadly discussed.
Although Kratom is not an opioid, it mimics the behavior of opioids when consumed at higher doses. Given this, the US government has recently linked kratom to the class of opiate drugs, such as heroin. Although this results from misinformation and the aforementioned lack of studies, it has created another field for the battle between conservatives and liberals over kratom’s legal status.
Why the FDA and DEA Want Kratom Banned
2016 was a harsh year for Kratom in the US. The Drug Enforcement Administration pushed its efforts to get alkaloids — the active ingredients in kratom — to the Schedule I classification, which would actually put Kratom among heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, and other drugs.
However, advocates of Kratom managed to stop the DEA from pushing their crusade further by pointing to the lack of relevant studies that would confirm the concerns about Kratom’s potential for abuse and other possible side-effects.
Schedule 1 drugs are those that have been determined to have no medical benefits and carry a high level of probability of abuse, so the DEA had to step back.
However, they are not alone in their effort to make Kratom illegal in the US. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health report about Kratom, underlining its “deadly risks.”
They quoted 36 deaths in the United States, but none of those examples stated clearly whether those deaths occurred directly because of Kratom, or whether other factors came to play.
Considered thousands of people dying from gunshot wounds each year in the US, 36 Kratom-related deaths makes FDA’s reasoning look ridiculous. Still, the new attack from their side shows how the legal status of Kratom in the US will continue to shape as different groups of interests are trying to push their own agendas.
What’s the Exact Legal Status of Kratom in the USA?
Fortunately, Kratom is still legal in the majority of the US states as long as you use it responsibly.
The only states where it’s illegal to grow, buy, possess, or use Kratom are:
- Rhode Island
- Washington D.C.
Additionally, Kratom is illegal in Saratosa County (Florida), San Diego (California), Jerseyville (Illinois), and Denver (Colorado).
Is Kratom legal in Your State?
Kratom is currently legal in these states (last updated January 2019):
Alaska, Arizona, California (except San Diego), Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida (except Sarasota County), Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois (for adults), Iowa, Kansas, Kentuck, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire (for 18+), New Jersey, New Mexico, New York (for 21+), North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah , Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wyoming
Where Is Kratom Illegal? Which Countries Ban Kratom?
Here’s where buying, consuming, or possessing Kratom can get you into troubles with the law:
- United Kingdom
Ironically, the region of Kratom’s origin does not allow its free use, at least not in most places. Kratom is considered illegal by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Below we list all countries that are part of the ASEAN:
- Thailand Vietnam
Kratom is also illegal in Japan.
Australia and New Zealand
Kratom remains banned in Australia since 2003. The country’s government considers the substance a narcotic with high potential for abuse despite no actual records of kratom abuse there.
New Zealand banned the recreational use of Kratom. Only patients with a medical prescription are allowed to buy and use Kratom products without facing legal charges.
Do you live in a Kratom-friendly state or country? What do Kratom laws look there? Let us know in the comments!