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California Wants to Regulate New Drug Being Sold Across the State

Haney’s AB 2365 creates strong regulations for kratom, an herbal drug native to Southeast Asia

For immediate release:
  • Nate Allbee
  • (415) 756-0561

SACRAMENTO, CA – Today Assemblymember Matt Haney (D-San Francisco) announced Assembly Bill 2365 - The Kratom Safety Act. The legislation will ensure only safe-to-consume kratom products are being sold in California, by requiring kratom to be manufactured according to best practices and to include health warnings on the label so consumers understand how to safely consume each product. The bill will also ensure that kratom sold in the state contains safe ingredients, safe dosages, passes laboratory testing, and be advertised appropriately in order to be sold in California.

Kratom is a tropical tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. In its natural state, kratom has a long history of being used in Southeast Asia for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. However, lack of regulations in the United States has led to very potent and dangerous products being developed by manufacturers and sold unregulated to consumers. The range of effects – which can include increased energy and productivity to psychotic symptoms and addiction – are due to two of the compounds in kratom: mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine. Right now, producers of kratom products can put as much or as little of these compounds into their product, without warning the consumer of any negative side effects.

“There are enough risks that it shouldn’t be a total free-for-all,” Haney said. “People should know what they’re buying. Kids shouldn’t buy it. And we should make it clear that there’s a difference between a bottle that may seem the same size — but may have exponentially more potency.”

Regarding synthetic products that are currently being marketed as kratom, Matthew Lowe, Executive Director of the Global Kratom Coalition, said “these synthetic products have high levels of 7-hyrdoxymitragynine, a compound that is found in very low amounts in leaf kratom and kratom extract products.” He added “It certainly isn’t kratom as nature intended. Kratom products should have the same ratios as the alkaloids found within nature.”

The Federal Government has warned users of the dangers of kratom, however, the substance remains unregulated at the federal level – leading states to regulate the substance individually. While certain states and cities are banning kratom completely, some users have reported that kratom has positively impacted their health – such as helping them get off opioids or deal with chronic pain. However, other users reported debilitating effects from using the substance, such as increased addiction and illness.

“Researchers are still learning more about kratom – and in the meantime, we need to give consumers all the information to protect themselves,” Haney said, “We need to make sure we can draw the lines about what products should be allowed.”

Under this bill, adulterated kratom will be banned for sale in California. Only products that have undergone rigorous safety testing and that have been registered with the California Department of Public Health will be approved for sale. Additionally, AB 2365 will also prohibit the sale of kratom products to individuals under the age of 21.