Kratom’s legal status has been a subject of controversy in recent years regarding its regulation, safety, and access. In the state of Vermont, kratom has unfortunately been banned and deemed illegal to sell or possess without exceptions. The substance has been deemed to carry unnecessary risks and addictive properties following studies on its perceived benefits against potential hazards.
Why is Kratom Illegal in Vermont?
Kratom is currently illegal in the state of Vermont. Back in 2016, Vermont legislators voted to add the two primary active compounds found in the kratom plant to the state’s controlled substances list.
These two alkaloids, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, were effectively banned by classifying them as Schedule I prohibited drugs. This same classification includes synthetic cannabinoids, hallucinogens, and other illegal substances.
As a result, possession, sale, distribution, or use of raw kratom plant materials containing mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine was prohibited. Products derived from or containing these alkaloids were also banned under the law.
There are some Vermont residents who believe that this ruling unfairly criminalizes a natural herbal substance without conclusive evaluation. In response, officials maintain that regulation was necessary for public safety until more risk research became available.
For now, efforts to legalize or decriminalize kratom in some capacity have largely been unsuccessful. The statewide ban persists despite kratom’s continuing legal gray area status under federal law.
Penalties for Kratom Possession and Sales in Vermont
Penalties for illegal possession and sale of controlled substances are outlined in the Vermont statutes. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are the two main active compounds found in kratom.
This effectively banned kratom since possessing the two said compounds found in the plant is now prohibited.
Civil fines or juvenile offenses may apply for minor possession amounts under 224mg, especially those under 21. Larger quantities, on the other hand, may face imprisonment of up to 20 years and fines of up to $500,000, depending on the weight of the substance in possession.
To sell or dispense substances containing prohibited kratom compounds can also result in other criminal penalties like imprisonment and steep fines based on concentration.
By prohibiting the key alkaloids found in kratom, Vermont law bans possessing and distributing both the raw plant and its derived products. To fully understand the specifics and penalties surrounding the legalities of Kratom, we recommend seeking professional legal advice.
Previous Attempts to Make Kratom Legal in Vermont
There were previous attempts to make kratom legal in Vermont; one of them was House Bill H.878. Introduced by Vermont House Members and referred to the Health Committee; this 2020 bill looked to remove kratom from the state’s list of illegal drugs.
By changing the definitions, it wanted to legally allow these substances often used for religious, spiritual, medical, or personal reasons. This was an earlier try to modify kratom’s status in Vermont.
Yet, the proposal did not move forward past the first committee review to any voting during the lawmaking session. Without additional support or momentum, this early attempt to decriminalize in Vermont was halted.
Another attempt was in 2021; it was introduced by a group of Vermont House representatives and referred to the Health Committee. Also known as the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, this bill aimed to establish consumer protections around kratom products sold in the state if they were to be legalized.
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act would institute labeling requirements on mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine content, restrictions prohibiting dangerous additives, and limits on 7-hydroxy mitragynine concentration. An age requirement for purchases was also included.
Additionally, the bill specified that kratom compounds like mitragynine would be exempt from Vermont’s list of controlled drugs. This potential change could provide a path to regulated access.
Like previous efforts, however, this proposal did not advance past the initial committee review during the legislative session. The lack of momentum stalled this attempt at possible kratom legalization and oversight in Vermont once again.
Vermont Kratom Consumer Protection Act
In 2023, a bill called Senate Bill S.128 was introduced and is a new attempt at the Vermont Kratom Consumer Protection Act. Introduced by a group of Vermont Senators, Senate Bill S.128 seeks to provide a legal and regulated framework for consumer access to kratom products in the state. Currently referred to the Senate Health and Welfare Committee for review.
If passed, the bill would establish consumer protections and labeling requirements. This includes necessitating manufacturers to list the mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine content on labels. This will allow consumers to understand their alkaloid doses. Manufacturers will also be required to provide clear labeling directions on usage guidance and number of servings.
On top of this, a maximum concentration threshold would be established for the high-potency alkaloid 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-OHM) in finished products. Limiting the amount of the compound in products will reduce the risk of overly potent kratom items from reaching the market.
An additional requirement is the mandatory registration with the Vermont Department of Health. This applies to all commercial kratom goods. Independent laboratory testing shall be conducted to confirm whether or not the products meet strict purity standards and adhere to the regulations regarding their composition. This quality control scheme aims to safeguard consumers as well as provide accountability to the sellers.
If processors are found to violate the proposed statutory guidelines, monetary fines shall be incurred. Reasonable penalties are promulgated to compel compliance from the manufacturers. Together, these measures facilitate access to safer products.
Finally, the bill would expressly exclude kratom compounds like mitragynine from Vermont’s controlled substances statutes entirely. This effectively decriminalizes the herb statewide if this bill is passed.
If kratom becomes legally accessible with established regulations in place, advocates argue that both product quality and safety can be properly ensured.
In the meantime, passage of the bill remains uncertain. As of March 2023, the proposal will undergo legislative committee evaluation in Vermont’s General Assembly.
Kratom’s legal status faces an uncertain future in Vermont. It is currently prohibited due to safety concerns and the previous efforts to shift to a legally regulated framework having stalled. As of this writing, the latest Senate bill aims to establish consumer protections and quality controls once the substance becomes legally accessible to consumers.
Once legislators have decided that the potential benefits of Kratom outweigh the risks, legalization could emerge along with the proper medical and retail oversight that comes with any substance. Yet passage is not guaranteed.
All citizens, including researchers and lawmakers, are ultimately tasked to share their perspectives about the discourse on Kratom. This is worth noting as any future policy directions may also be influenced by new research and analysis of the substance and its uses.