"Let a mixture be made."
Kratom (Mitragyna speciose) is a tropical evergreen tree indigenous to Indochina. It is a member of the coffee family and it has been used in traditional medicine at least since the 1800s. Kratom has been celebrated for its pain-relieving, invigorating, and euphoric properties by many cultures and has recently come to the United States as a food supplement. For many struggling with chronic pain, opioid addiction, and anxiety, mixing up a little Kratom and taking it for natural relief has been a Godsend. Many have heralded it as a miracle plant and the internet has been overflowing with stories of Kratom changing lives for the better.
So then why all the controversy over a natural plant that seems to be helping millions all over the world? Why would the FDA want to ban a natural alternative to opioids especially when deaths by drug overdose have reached crisis levels?
The answer is quite simple: For them, there's no money to be made from it.
Cui Bono? Post Nummos.
"Who does this benefit? Follow the money."
Kratom poses a major threat to the prescription drug market's bottom line. As word of an all-natural, non-addictive, alternative to opioid painkillers and psychotropic drugs spreads, the more money Big Pharma stands to lose. The more money Big Pharma loses, the less kickback the FDA receives. Kratom poses a major threat to both their wallets and, even more important, Kratom poses a threat to their power, control, and influence. If history is any guide, it shows us that they who hold the reigns of power do not share that power lightly.
Since Kratom started gaining popularity among those sufferers looking to get off prescription painkillers, the FDA has waged a smear campaign against it the likes of which we haven't seen since vaping started. They have called it a dangerous drug; lumping it with ACTUAL dangerous synthetic drugs like "Bath Salts" and "Spice" in order to paint a dirty picture in the public mind. If they can't control it and make a ton of money off of it, they don't want you to have it.
Sadly, for those who have come to rely on Kratom as a natural alternative to hard drugs, the propaganda has worked in some areas. Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin and the District of Columbia have banned kratom, along with at least three cities — Denver, San Diego and Sarasota, Florida.
And now the City of Seminole, Florida is looking to follow suit. According to an article published in TBN Weekly, the City Council took the first step toward banning Kratom at its March 13 meeting. Like the FDA, the Councilors put all-natural Kratom in the same league as synthetic street drugs like contraband bath salts, synthetic cannabinoid herbal incense, and spice.
We spoke with Ben Hooker, the Manager of Lizard Juice Seminole, a popular local shop that sells vapes, e-juice, and Kratom products such as ready-to-drink teas, powders, capsules, and tinctures. When I asked about the proposed Kratom ban in Seminole, he responded passionately.
"It hurts because working at a shop that sells Kratom, I have the ability to engage with my customers and get their story. A lot of them are in here because [they want to] get off pills, and I also get many in seeking pain relief. Some are looking for that boost of energy. I have another that uses Kratom for depression. Each customer is unique and Kratom has the ability to help people in so many different ways."
If Kratom is banned in the City of Seminole, Hooker is concerned that, "It would severely impact [customers looking] to find quality Kratom. There are many less-than-reputable shops that seek to sell Kratom at a cheaper price but with that comes lesser quality and potential dangers of the Kratom being cut with something else. My store wouldn't be able to help anyone in the area seeking out an alternative."
Post Tenebras Spero Lucem
"After darkness, I hope for light"
The good news in all this is that The People have found their voice and have used it to stand up and speak truth to power. On Tuesday, March 27th, concerned citizens turned out in numbers to address the upcoming ban with the Seminole City Council. Gary Wilder, local businessman and the owner of Lizard Juice, was one such person at the meeting. Wilder added his voice to the many in attendance who spoke up regarding the positive impact Kratom has had on their lives.
“I’ve never had a drink, never done drugs. I don’t even eat red meat,” he said. “This natural product changed my life. … These stories that I hear from people – I hear these every day by the hundreds in the stores, and I’m the most anti-drug person that you could meet in your life.”
He added, “This is the greatest exit from opioids that nature’s ever given us. This is an incredible product.”
Others also added their voices to Wilder's speaking about how Kratom has saved them from pain, opioid addiction, and alcoholism. In the end, a major victory was scored for the people.
The bill to ban Kratom in the City of Seminole has been abandoned.
This is a testimony to the Power of the People. It demonstrates what can be accomplished when citizens stand up, use their voice, and exercise their right to redress grievances with the Powers That Be. The war for Kratom is far from over, however. The FDA is working hard every day to find a new reason to either control the Kratom industry or destroy it. There will be many more battles ahead. Those of us who use Kratom to improve our lives must never rest on our laurels. We must remain vigilant and vocal for the battles to come.
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