The opposition to kratom has kept misleading information about kratom front and center in a lot of news stories for the past few years. And that’s probably because of its failed attempt at placing kratom of the Drug Enforcement Agency’s (DEA) scheduled list of substances back in 2016—outspoken support from kratom advocates played a large role in that result. But that hasn’t stopped government agencies from continuing the battle by using psychological warfare to target the minds of the United States’ citizens.
On the federal level, after the DEA’s setback, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took steps to scare a large portion of America’s population that remained uninformed about the kratom plant and its products. Almost immediately, the FDA started issuing press releases and announcements about the imaginative dangers associated with purchasing or ingesting kratom. Then, to beef up its strategy against the plant, the FDA started recalling products left and right. But advocates for kratom have proved time and time again that the agency’s assertions are nothing more than smoke screens with nothing to back up its asinine arguments.
Since federal agencies have remained in the position of stalemate over the future of kratom for quite some time, the battle is now being played out in the trenches of local municipalities and county steps of individual states. And it appears the technique seems to be working in certain areas around the country. One state has had a significant push against kratom legality: that state is Mississippi.
Just because kratom doesn’t get scheduled on the federal level doesn’t mean that it can’t happen at the state level. At the moment, six separate states have banned kratom statewide. And Mississippi was pushing to be the seventh state on that list. Mississippi State Legislature recently had a proposed bill on the books to place kratom on its scheduled list of substances. The bill was spearheaded by Chuck Younger, a Mississippi State Senator from its 17th district. But fortunately for the residents of that state, the anti-kratom bill died in committee at the beginning of 2020.
However, even though Mississippi’s ban was defeated at the state level, some of the local governments in the state have taken it upon themselves to implement ordinances to ban kratom on the local level. So far, Mississippi has over 30 separate cities and counties that have participated in such a ban. And the movement seems to stem from the involvement of the Lowndes County Crime and Addiction Task Force. That specific task force is actually part of a larger umbrella: the Lowndes Community Foundation. And it openly speaks out against kratom without following any of the science related to the plant.
And this places kratom users who live in Mississippi in a precarious situation. Most kratom users don’t even understand the war that’s being waged at the federal and state levels, much less the need to be proactively involved at the county or city level. And that leaves them at a disadvantage.
The war on kratom in Mississippi has a few key players that are creating most of the noise for a kratom ban in the state. And a few of them work (or previously worked for) the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics (MBN). One such individual from that posse is Eddie Hawkins, the Lieutenant of the MBN. But his commentary about the sales of kratom in the area leaves much to be desired from the standpoint of honesty.
Lieutenant Eddie Hawkins of the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics once went on record to say they have documentation where people spend $800 a week on kratom and claimed on lady owed a store $4,800 for her ongoing kratom debt. But those amounts are implausible. Let’s take the $800 a week habit of kratom for example: kilos of kratom can be purchased for a tenth of that price. That means one person uses 10 kilos a week. I don’t think so.
But with all of those police-sponsored lies to make kratom an illegal substance across the state, we hear another disingenuous claim that is always included along with them: they repeatedly say that a ban on kratom is for the welfare of the citizens of Mississippi. However, such a bold claim by the state’s representatives doesn’t match with reality. When we take a look at the stats of the state’s health-care system, there seems to be some sort of disconnect with their proclaimed intentions and the actual logistics for how Mississippi is actually being governed.
Whenever you look at Mississippi’s health-care system, you start to see the pieces come together to form a larger overall picture. The condition of the state’s medical system looks pretty bleak from an outside perspective. According to a Commonwealth Fund report, Mississippi had the largest percentage of adults who avoided the doctor because they wouldn’t be able to afford the medical care associated with their health problems.
And with racial tensions hitting an all-time high because of the state of affairs currently in the United States, it would also be important to note that black men in Mississippi have shorter life expectancies than an average American did in 1960. And just last year (2019), the state ranked in the 48th position—out of all 50 states—for its health-care performance compared to the rest of the nation. And almost a third of Mississippi’s citizens who are not covered by insurance are not eligible for any financial assistance to gain health insurance on their own, which means the likelihood they’ll purchase coverage in the near future is almost nonexistent.
With horrific medical care plaguing the Mississippi, one would think that the community leaders, who hold positions of power, would be taking the time to tackle the breakdown of government, which led to such a dreadful structure of health care in the state. Instead, the organization uses its funds and efforts to try to remove a plant that has therapeutic benefits from lawfully being purchased by the citizens of their state.
Even with the state’s trend of placing legislation into effect that bans kratom products within local jurisdictions, the county supervisors of one particular county finally came to their senses. And I’m talking about Monroe County, Mississippi.
That county voted to ban kratom back in March 2019. The ban itself went into effect on April 1st of the same year. But afterward, a large group of kratom supporters voiced their concerns about the ban. Emails were sent. Telephone calls were made. And people staged meetings at the Monroe County Chancery Building.
The discussion with those representatives shifted from the previous disinformation touted by the Lowndes County Crime and Addiction Task Force to a conversation that was backed by science. Plenty of kratom users took the time to explain their personal accounts of dealing with the plant. They told their stories of successfully utilizing kratom for a host of conditions. And afterward, the Monroe County Board of Supervisors decided another vote was called for.
And a little over a week ago, the board met to vote on reversing the ban against kratom. After a 3-2 vote, the kratom ban was reversed. It was a small victory for kratom consumers in the state, but hopefully, it starts a much-needed trend that follows.
For too long, governments have passed laws that don’t benefit the citizens. Leaders take it upon themselves to govern with agendas. And whenever that’s not the case, we see liberty in action—as we were able to witness in Monroe County.