Legislators in South Carolina embarked on a distinctive approach, joined by a broad coalition, in their endeavor to schedule kratom in the state. However, they faced a significant obstacle: the lack of support required to pass the South Carolina kratom ban bill into law.
Victory for Kratom Advocacy
Recent trends in kratom policy have favored advocates, leading opponents to seek alternative avenues of opposition. In South Carolina, the proposed legislation to regulate kratom failed to advance, halting any potential action for this legislative session. The bill, named H3742, initially received support from 18 sponsors but encountered a standstill in the House Judiciary Committee, reflecting a lack of enthusiasm for this unique attempt at kratom control. Unlike other states, South Carolina aimed to classify kratom as a Schedule IV substance, restricting access despite its absence from federal scheduling. Despite adding 21 sponsors, totaling 39 legislators, the bill did not progress further in the committee or originating chamber, effectively concluding with the end of South Carolina’s legislative session on June 15.
United Nations declined to take action against kratom
What sets this scheduling attempt apart is its nature. Between 2015 and 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) influenced six states to take action and schedule kratom as a Schedule I substance in anticipation of federal action. However, when the time came to schedule kratom, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) withdrew its proposed action, and a subsequent attempt at scheduling failed to meet the necessary criteria for action. Furthermore, the FDA attempted to present its evidence to the United Nations, but the organization also declined to take action against kratom.
Lawmakers in South Carolina aimed to align their scheduling approach with the FDA while embracing the prevailing scientific knowledge surrounding kratom. According to both state and federal guidelines, substances classified as Schedule IV, such as Xanax, Valium, and Tramadol, are deemed to have a “low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence.”
Kratom risk is dependency or addiction?
During various hearings across the country, kratom advocates have argued that products containing kratom are falsely labeled with addiction potential, asserting that the only risk associated with kratom is dependence. This may explain the rationale behind the bill’s attempt to classify kratom in a low-risk category of scheduled substances. However, this approach contradicts legislative efforts in different states to regulate kratom.
The American Kratom Association (AKA) has collaborated with lawmakers on nearly every version of what they refer to as Kratom Consumer Protection Acts (KCPAs). These acts have sought to establish regulations governing the manufacturing and sale of kratom-derived products. Even in cases where lawmakers decide against stringent regulation, the majority of enacted KCPAs include provisions labeling kratom as a food product and dietary ingredient. Representatives from the AKA have argued in multiple hearings that the prevailing scientific evidence supports a different perspective.
Advocates contend that, similar to a cup of coffee, kratom has been incorporated into consumers’ daily routines worldwide, rather than being used for any specific purpose. They further argue that dietary ingredients, especially those that do not meet the criteria for scheduling, should not be classified alongside medications and substances with recognized medical use.
South Carolina faced a lack of support for their proposed kratom ban bill, resulting in its failure to become law.
It seems that lawmakers share this viewpoint. By allowing the proposed kratom ban bill to expire, South Carolina legislators demonstrated a lack of willingness to schedule kratom at any level. Consequently, South Carolina became the fourth state this year to reject an attempt to ban the plant at the state level.
Legislators in South Carolina faced a lack of support for their proposed kratom ban bill, resulting in its failure to become law. This rejection marked the state’s refusal to join the recent momentum in favor of kratom regulation, making it the fourth state this year to reject a kratom ban – Victory for Kratom Advocacy.