Kratom, an herbal drug made of ground-up tree leaves, is "temporarily" joining other natural substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, and peyote on the schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. The active ingredients in kratom, the indole alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are both being added to the list for up to three years, after which they can be added permanently.
Prior to this move, the U.S. has already been seizing shipments of kratom:
In 2014, the FDA issued an import alert that allowed US Customs agents to detain kratom without a physical examination. "We have identified kratom as a botanical substance that could pose a risk to public health and have the potential for abuse," said Melinda Plaisier, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. According to the DEA, between February 2014 and July 2016, nearly 247,000 pounds of kratom were seized.
Advocates say that kratom is a natural treatment for opioid addiction, an application that the Drug Enforcement Agency dismisses. Meanwhile, the heroin/opioid epidemic continues with "unprecedented" events like the recent 174 heroin overdoses in just six days in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Check out the implosion of this kratom subreddit, which is attempting to get 100,000 signatures on the White House petition site:
APATHY WILL GET US NOWHERE. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME FOR US TO BAND TOGETHER, ITS NOW. stand with me brothers and sisters. hope is not lost.
I can completely understand not wanting people making unproven medical claims, but that aside, if there's no proven harm, how the hell can they do this?
Perhaps do some reading about what the US was like prior to establishing rules about medical claims. These are substances that have unknown qualities that shouldn't be permitted to gain a foothold without research backing their safety. Just look at alcohol, tobacco and marijuana. Those were permitted to be used long enough that enforcement became an issue.
People have become sufficiently habituated to them that they make up all sorts of lies and myths in order to gain legal access to them that aren't based in any sort of evidence. Now, chances are with marijuana that it'll be legalized without much problem in the future, but alcohol and tobacco result in a large number of fatalities every year and trying to put them back in the bottle has proven to be problematic as addicts refuse to give them up even though there's huge harm to people that aren't using them.
Bottom line here is that we don't allow pharmaceutical companies to release untested products, so why should we allow the importation of substances with unknown effects on the human body? Even industrial chemicals have stricter regulation than you're suggesting.
Once again, I'm not talking about medical claims. Cannabis never should have been added to schedule one in the first place. These are not 'products', these are plants.
If you want to grow Schedule I plants and fungi including cannabis, shrooms, peyote, (and soon) kratom in your own home, it is illegal. Forget importation or snake oil salesmen. You are not allowed to grow what you want, even if you have no intention of consuming or distributing it.
In the words of a 2015 Brookings Institution report, a move to Schedule II "would signal to the medical community that [the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health] are ready to take medical marijuana research seriously, and help overcome a government-sponsored chilling effect on research that manifests in direct and indirect ways."
You want to prohibit people from selling it as a therapeutic drug? Use the FDA to do that but allow recreational sales. You want to do peer-reviewed research on this substance and other substances? Don't put it on Schedule I.
I don't know how to prove to you that you're objectively wrong about cannabis. However, I was being half serious in my other comment calling for the DEA to be investigated for not scheduling alcohol and nicotine. As far as kratom here, I have no idea honestly. I can't point to any personal experience or any actual data to make an argument one way or another whether it's harmful or beneficial. I've merely been trained by the propaganda machine that's filled your head with cargo cult science and lies to automatically assume the opposite of what the DEA is claiming is true.
What we saw during alcohol prohibition was that prohibition itself made alcohol consumption trendy and more popular. I don't know that I exactly have proof that's at work with cannabis, nor do I expect it to exactly go that way because of how different cannabis is from alcohol. I can provide proof now that cannabis legalization does reduce opioid addiction.
I understand you disapprove of religious types. You're taking a lot of your knowledge about cannabis on faith, and the more research pops up, the more you sound like a flat-Earther.
In fact, if your goal really is harm reduction, I have a link for you. I'm sure you consider anything NORML publishes potheads trying to get their addictions legalized, but please at least read this opinion about Portugal's successful drug policy [norml.org]. I hope you'll at least consider that, as biased as the source I'm linking may be, there are objective numbers there that we simply cannot deny.
Prohibition, unfortunately, like abstinence or fat shaming or what have you, is dynamite on paper, but it just simply doesn't work in the real world—if your goal is harm reduction.
Same way they do everything else it seems: Because. They. Can.
Doing some reading, the DEA seems to have linked deaths to the use of this one. As always, they'll give us the raw numbers to sound scary (deaths! [3 of them] hundreds needing medical care! [over a 5 year period]) but that's not epidemiology data.
The evidence is beyond underwhelming. The only thing I've heard related to illegal, natural medicines that was more underwhelming was about the (two) deaths caused by cannabis edibles (and alcohol) in Colorado.
As always, we're left to wonder about the legitimacy of the DEA when they still haven't put ethyl alcohol, tobacco, nutmeg, or datura (Jimsonweed) on schedule I and have refused to move cannabis to schedule II in light of evidence of legitimate medicinal uses. Preaching to the choir, but the DEA should be investigated for their failure to respond to the overwhelming evidence about at least ethyl alcohol and tobacco. I expect corruption charges against high ranking officials. Heads need to roll over the DEA's failure to act on alcohol and tobacco.
I'd also like a pony.
(I'm assuming if the 9th and 10th amendments don't fucking matter then the 21st amendment shouldn't fucking matter either. Ethyl alcohol used to have medicinal uses, but we have safer and more effective alternatives these days such as local anesthesia, etc.)
Tobacco and ethanol do not belong on the list either. Both may be abused and there are certainly some people who should never touch ethanol, but both have long been used as part of the natural pharmacopoeia.
It was recently discovered that nicotine is one of the very few substances that can treat the negative symptoms of schizophrenia (it was the only one at the time of 'discovery'). Tobacco macerated and applied topically to a sprain works wonders.
The DEA needs to just go away, period. The FDA needs to be broken apart and re-built from scratch, preferably as a purely advisory organization.