I try to steer clear from politics for the most part because I’m anarchistic by nature. However, my occupation puts me in the position to speak out against the government because it’s always overstepping its bounds, placing itself within my crosshairs.

For example, a newly written article was making the rounds on the internet this week discussing the Modernizing Drug Enforcement Act of 2019. While the bill was initially introduced over a year ago, on May 8th, 2019, it has until the end of this year’s legislative session to become a law or wither and die.

That places the Modernizing Drug Enforcement Act of 2019 at odds with a particular plant that this website, Kratom Geek, revolves around: Mitragyna speciosa. And that’s something that needs to be addressed in today’s post.

And these types of bills don’t only affect kratom users, either. They’re detrimental to society in general. You see, the hostility that rages on in the streets at this very moment—with protests and riots against police brutality—resulted from the culmination of an out-of-control police state. That police state was birthed by certain laws that were enacted that placed liberty in opposition with our government’s desire for control.

While the birthdate for our despotic government can be argued upon, no one can deny that the day it started taking steroids was the enactment of the United States’ failed “War on Drugs.” But instead of backing away slowly from the train wreck, federal representatives want to double down.

The Modernizing Drug Enforcement Act

The Modernizing Drug Enforcement Act of 2019, also known as the House of Representatives Bill 2580 (H.R. 2580), is a tricky way for the government to make kratom illegal without actually calling kratom out by name. And it does that through specific wording in the bill that seeks to amend the Controlled Substances Act by placing any substance that acts as mu-opioid receptor agonists as a schedule I substance.

To perform that very scheme, the bill seeks to tack on the verbiage “includes any drug or other substance that acts as a mu-opioid receptor agonist” at the end of paragraph 18 of section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act—which defines the parameters for how our government can classify opiates and opioids. And since scientific evidence has shown that kratom acts as a mu-opioid receptor agonist, then this bill (if passed) would legally classify kratom as an opiate/opioid from that point forward, making it illegal for any consumer in America to purchase or possess kratom.   

The wording in this bill is exactly how politicians confuse unwary constituents prior to voting. They use manipulative phrasing in certain bills that they know won’t cause contempt amongst an electorate. The last thing they want is to have to defend the presence of any bill in legislation. For starters, the publicity can shut it down before it even gets a vote. And for the Congressmen who are attached to the bill, it can hinder any reelection plans for the upcoming elections—their worst nightmare. 

Where H.R. 2580 Bill Stands Right Now

At the moment, H.R. 2580 is still stuck in a subcommittee—actually two subcommittees, to be exact. The bill was presented to the Subcommittee on Health, belonging to the Energy and Commerce Committee. And it was simultaneously presented to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security, which belongs to the Judiciary Committee. The reason the representative that sponsored the bill gave it to two separate committees was so it would double the chance that the bill might move forward.

However, it still takes the committee chairs to determine whether a bill moves to the next stage or not. And presently, there haven’t been any roll calls related to the bill yet. So there’s a good chance nothing will happen to the H.R. 2580 Bill before the end of the year. At this point, it’s a little too late in the game. And if it doesn’t get voted by the end of this legislative session, then it will die in Congress at the end of the year.

But that doesn’t mean that we should all just let up our guard. There is still the possibility that the bill could rise up from the dead—not likely, but possible. Although even if it does die in Congress, another representative could always reintroduce a similar bill (with the same type of wording) during the next session. It’s not like that’s never happened before. In fact, that’s exactly what occurred during this go-around. H.R. 2580 is the reincarnation of a previous bill.

The History of the Bill

H.R. 2580 is actually the rebirth of a bill from the 115th Congress. On March 15th, 2018, H.R. 5298 was introduced to the federal legislature. But it died in Congress that same year. The wording was identical to the current bill, so there’s a good chance it won’t progress this year, either. But that didn’t stop the sponsor of the bill with his agenda to make kratom illegal.   

H.R. 2580 and H.R. 5298 were both introduced by the same man: David Phillip Roe—a Republican US Representative for Tennessee’s 1st Congressional District. David Phillip Roe became a chairman of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs back in 2017, which leaves me perplexed because a lot of veterans are advocates for kratom. So he seems to be working against the constituents of his committee’s best interest. The more you look at politicians in office, the likelier it is for you to see that’s usually the case.

Luckily, Mr. Roe isn’t running for reelection this year, so we know for sure that he won’t be reintroducing the same bill for the third time in the next session. But there’s always the chance someone else might. That’s because this bill had another representative for a cosponsor that is running again: Thomas Richard Suozzi—a Democrat US Representative for New York’s 3rd Congressional District. And since he backed both versions of the bill thus far, there could always be the chance he carries the torch in future sessions of Congress. Only time will tell.

United We Stand / Divided We Fall

In today’s political polarization that has engulfed the country, it’s very easy to look at one side of the political spectrum as the enemy of the people. That’s exactly how the majority of politicians get elected—not for what they’ll accomplish for our country, but for their vows to stop the opposing side from destroying our country. But the truth of the matter is that both sides are guilty of corruption and robbing us of our freedoms. Take the bill we’re discussing for example. It has bipartisan sponsors, showing both parties are willing to throw kratom underneath the bus.

Believing one side of the political spectrum is the reason for the stripping away of our liberties is total balderdash. Neither side has your best interests at heart. So we should all stay vigilant by paying attention to the bigger picture in play. For the moment, take the initiative to have your voice heard in Washington D.C. by personally contacting representatives Roe and Suozzi by telephone. Any of you that are bashful, you could always write them a strongly-worded letter. Just make sure you get your message out there.

Kratom has repeatedly come under fire for the past few years since the DEA tried an emergency scheduling. They lost from trying that maneuver. But government officials don’t give up so easily. They always seem to manage a fight. And that’s exactly the persona we should all have while advocating for kratom. We all believe in this plant. Now, let’s prove it. 

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