Kratom is currently legal in Florida, except in Sarasota County. That means you can buy, distribute, use, and sell kratom all over the state except that one location.
In the past years, there has been no age limit in Florida in regard to buying kratom. But early this year, Florida lawmakers decided on new legislation for the minimum age requirement. Starting July 2023, people who sell, distribute, or deliver kratom under the age of 21 will face charges.
History of Kratom Legality in Florida
Kratom almost got banned in the U.S. last 2016. But thanks to public outcry, the DEA decided to take back their decision. Kratom then remained unregulated at a federal level, so it was up to each state whether they wanted to make kratom legal or ban it.
Most states today have restrictions on kratom or keep it unregulated, while other states like Wisconsin and Vermont have completely banned kratom.
Florida lawmakers have let kratom stay unregulated for quite some time now. That means anyone in the state can buy it, except in Sarasota County. However, most shops took it upon themselves to sell only to buyers at least 18 or 21 years old. But applying this minimum age was entirely according to their discretion.
In 2021, Florida lawmakers filed SB 1076 in the Senate in the hopes of regulating kratom in the state. The bill would have taken effect on July 1, 2022. The bill is similar to the current one the state is discussing today. However, SB 1076 didn’t pass and died in Senate in November 2021.
Early this year, Florida lawmakers decided to take up this piece of legislation again. Under Senate Bill 179, Florida will use the Kratom Consumer Protection Act. So to answer the question, “Is kratom legal in Florida in 2023?” yes, it still is, but only for those 21 years and above.
The Kratom Ban in Sarasota County, Florida
Sarasota County banned kratom in 2014, just one year after they banned bath salts. But why is kratom legal in Florida but not in this county? Apparently, the Sarasota County Municipal Code classified both substances as “designer drugs.”
Because kratom doesn’t belong to the category of synthetic drugs, kratom users were disappointed by this decision. In response, local kratom advocates tried to turn the decision around by running a petition. But with only over 600 signatures, it wasn’t enough to stop the county from banning kratom.
The Attempted Kratom Ban in St. Johns County, Florida
Sarasota County wasn’t the only county in Florida that tried to criminalize kratom use and distribution. In 2019, St. Johns County also attempted to ban kratom, but locals are thankful that it never materialized.
A drug task force wasn’t able to provide substantial data as to why the county commissioners should ban kratom. Kratom advocates were also quick to give their personal experiences with kratom and how the herb helped them in their daily life. In the end, the county ignored the suggestion to ban kratom.
For now, kratom is legal in St. Johns County. There is no indication that they will revisit this idea in the near future.
Senate Bill 179 and the American Kratom Association
Legislators filed SB 179 in the House of Representatives early in January this year. With the help of the American Kratom Association, the bill is moving within the Senate and House.
It’s still in the works and, if passed, will take effect on July 1, 2023. According to the bill text, these are what local Floridians should look forward to, provided the bill passes:
- It will be illegal to sell, barter, give, or deliver kratom products to anyone below the age of 21.
- Violators will face second-degree misdemeanor charges:
- They can receive a fine of up to $500.
- They can face jail time of up to 60 days.
What Locals Think About the New Legislation on Kratom
The proposed legislation brought about mixed reactions from locals. Some are glad that there’s possibly a new law to restrict minors’ exposure to the substance. However, some were also unhappy with the news.
For example, local business owner Caleb Curl just opened his coffee shop in Tallahassee last February. His business, Kameleon Kava & Coffee, mainly serves young professionals and students.
He says that while he’s in favor of regulating kratom, raising the minimum age would be bad for his business. A lot of students go to his shop to consume kratom or buy kratom products. And if the age requirement becomes law, he’d have fewer kratom users visit his shop.
Is Kratom Legal in Florida Forever?
Several states have banned kratom since 2016. And to this day, kratom users and advocates try to reverse the decisions in these states.
The good news is that it doesn’t look like Florida will be joining the list any time soon. But if you feel like kratom’s legality is at risk in Florida or any other state, you can reach out to the American Kratom Association through their website.
The AKA is an independent non-profit organization that helps consumers assist in legislative efforts in states with a proposed kratom ban.
As of now, it looks like kratom will remain legal in Florida. However, change is inevitable, and advocates can only hope for a brighter future for kratom in the U.S. Remember to stay updated on local kratom laws to avoid violating them and facing legal repercussions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is kratom?
The Mitragyna speciosa or kratom plant is a tropical evergreen tree from Southeast Asia. Its leaves contain controversial chemicals called alkaloids that give relaxing or energy-boosting effects when ingested.
How can I take kratom?
Shoppers can purchase kratom in different forms in places where kratom is legal. You can buy it in its powder form made from dried, crushed leaves. But you can also get it as a herbal supplement, tablet, tea, or extract.
What is the recommended dosage for kratom?
Due to the differences in potency and strength, there is no universal agreement on how much kratom to take. However, kratom users advise newbies to start with 2 grams and move up to higher doses depending on their preference and tolerance.