Kratom is not legal in Rhode Island (RI). The state banned kratom in 2017, citing danger to public health. However, there has been pressure from kratom lobby groups for the state to lift the ban.
In this post, we’ll unravel the motivation behind the statewide kratom ban and the possibility of future legislative changes in the state.
Is Kratom Legal in Rhode Island: Reasons Behind Rhode Island’s Kratom Ban
In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced plans to classify kratom as a Schedule I substance. They wanted to put the herb in the same category as ecstasy, heroin, and LSD. Their reason behind this was that kratom had a high risk of abuse with no accepted medical use in the United States.
The Food Drug Administration (FDA) had a bone to pick with kratom, too. It issued warnings about the potential adverse health risks linked to the herb. Fearing the looming federal ban, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) deemed the two active alkaloids in kratom— mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine —as Schedule 1 controlled substances.
Is Kratom Legal in Rhode Island: The Consequences of Statewide Kratom Prohibition
Here are some of the consequences of banning the herb in Rhode Island:
- A Thriving Black Market: Because of kratom’s legality in Rhode Island, there has been a booming black market exposing consumers to the possibility of buying adulterated or low-quality kratom products.
- Creative Workarounds and Legal Risks: Kratom users have devised a clever workaround where they set up P.O. boxes in neighboring states like Connecticut, where there is no question about kratom legality and the herb from Southeast Asia remains legal to buy, sell, and possess.
- The Risk of Turning to Harmful Substances: While some kratom consumers respect the outright ban on kratom in Rode Island, others turn to harmful alternative substances that have the same effects as kratom.
- Relocating for Access: Some consumers who rely on kratom end up moving to legal states where they can have unrestricted access to the herb.
Latest Legal Updates on Kratom in Rhode Island
Two representatives, John “Jay” Edwards, and Brian Patrick Kennedy, have sponsored the latest legislation seeking to legalize and regulate kratom in RI. House Bill 5330 is a version of the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) and was approved by the Rhode Island House of Representatives in June.
The pending legislation also has the support of the American Kratom Association (AKA). According to the AKA, there’s no documented fatality linked to using kratom itself. The organization says any reported kratom deaths are due to adulterated kratom products. It further acknowledges that kratom can create a dependency, but they’re quick to point out that dependency is different from addiction.
What State Health Officials Have to Say On the Bill
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) has voiced its displeasure at the bill. The health department says they are not sold on kratom yet.
They believe there’s no adequate scientific research proving the safety of the herb and are worried that kratom will expose consumers to the risk of serious addiction, overdose, and fatality. They also point out that the bill does not set aside the finances they would need to oversee regulation.
The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals also opposes the bill. They say the benefits of legalizing kratom are still up in the air, and the risks outweigh the potential rewards. As such, they want more solid medical evidence of the benefits of kratom before giving the bill the green light.
What Would Be the Implications of the Bill?
If House Bill H5330 gets the nod, it’s going to lift the ban on kratom sales and give Rode Island residents access to the herb after a long, five-year hiatus.
Other provisions of the bill include the following:
- Ban the sale of kratom products containing sketchy and dangerous non-kratom additives.
- Ban the sale of synthetic kratom alkaloids. Only natural kratom alkaloids will be allowed.
- The levels of 7-hydroxymitragynine in the product shouldn’t exceed 2% of the total alkaloid content.
- All kratom products are to include clear directions on the label for safe and effective use, including an ideal serving size.
- Amend the minimum legal age from 18 to 21 for kratom consumers.
Can You Buy Kratom in Rhode Island Without Breaking the Law?
Not at all. You won’t find any local store in Rhode Island selling the plant in any form. You also can’t order it online since most online kratom vendors can’t take the risk of shipping to a state where kratom is illegal. That said, if you’re caught with the herbal substance, brace yourself for some serious consequences. The offense can range from a misdemeanor to a felony, depending on the situation.
Is Kratom Legal in Rhode Island: The Bottom Line
Kratom is currently illegal in Rode Island. However, kratom’s legality in the state is on the verge of change. That’s because legislation seeking to legalize and regulate kratom already passed with majority votes in the House of Representatives.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently also found insufficient evidence to ban kratom, which could help nudge Rhode Island towards legalizing kratom.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I buy or use kratom in Rhode Island?
No, kratom is still illegal in Rhode Island. It is listed as a Schedule I substance, so its possession or sale could result in hefty fines of up to $500 or up to a year of imprisonment.
Will Rhode Island lift the ban on kratom?
There is a possibility that kratom will soon be legal and regulated in Rhode Island due to the pending legislation aimed at legalizing kratom, lobbying efforts from the AKA, and the WHO’s favorable conclusion on kratom. This offers a brighter future for kratom enthusiasts in the state.
Can you ship kratom to Rhode Island?
No online vendor will ship kratom to a state where it is illegal.
What are the alternative ways to access kratom in Rhode Island?
The best option is to travel to neighboring states like New York or Connecticut, where kratom is legal. However, be cautious not to bring kratom when you travel back to Rhode Island.