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Why is Kratom Banned in San Diego?

October 3, 2023LegalityNo Comments »

Why is kratom banned in San Diego? This question has gained attention in recent years as the use of kratom has become increasingly controversial. As a result, San Diego has taken action to ban the importation and sale of kratom within the city limits.

The ban on kratom in San Diego raises important questions about the safety and regulatory angles of natural substances. While some make assertions that kratom potentially provides alternative therapies for certain conditions, these claims are met with concerns about its addictive nature and potential adverse effects. However, for any positions taken, scientific evidence and potential risks associated with kratom use should be the guiding foundations.

The Kratom Ban in San Diego

On June 14, 2022, the San Diego City Council voted 6-0 to pass an ordinance banning the sale and possession of kratom within city limits. Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia that contains compounds that can have psychotropic effects.

The ordinance prohibits the sale, distribution, and possession of kratom products like powder, capsules, and teas in San Diego. Those found in violation face penalties of $500-1000 fines and/or up to 6 months in jail.

Supporters of the ban argued that kratom should be regulated like other psychoactive substances due to its effects. Opponents said kratom offers therapeutic benefits and regulating its sale would just drive users to obtain it illegally.

According to city records, only seven citations have been issued for kratom violations since 2016 and none since 2018. It is unclear if any lawsuits have been filed challenging the ordinance since it went into effect.

While kratom is controversial, it is not currently an illegal drug under federal law. The San Diego ordinance represents one of the first local laws prohibiting kratom in the United States. Kratom proponents are concerned the ban could set a precedent for other cities and states to follow. The regulation of kratom remains a divisive issue across the country.

image of san diego's ban on kratom

San Diego’s Ban on Kratom

The use of kratom, a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia, has become a controversial topic in San Diego as the city banned its possession, sale, and distribution. This article will delve into the reasons behind the ban, the chronology of events, and the impact it has had on the kratom industry and its users.

Reasons for the Ban

Several factors contributed to the decision to ban kratom in San Diego:

Associated Deaths and Health Issues

Reports of a dozen deaths linked to kratom raised concerns among local authorities and health professionals.

Calls to Poison Centers and Adverse Drug Events

The increasing number of calls to poison centers related to kratom exposure and the rise in adverse reactions further alarmed officials.

Concerns about Addiction and Illegal Drug Use

Kratom’s classification as a substance of concern and potential misuse raised red flags. Law enforcement agencies expressed concerns about its misuse and highlighted the need for regulation due to its similarities to other illegal drugs.

FDA and DEA Warnings

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) issued warnings about the potential dangers and risks associated with kratom use. These warnings called attention to the lack of quality control, the presence of unknown active ingredients, and the potential for adverse health effects.

image of chronology of the kratom ban

Chronology of the Ban

City Council’s Decision

In response to growing concerns, the San Diego City Council held a vote on the emergency scheduling of kratom. In a 6-0 council vote, the decision was made to temporarily ban the importation of kratom while further research and analysis were conducted.

Public Nuisance and Emergency Ban

The city then passed an emergency ordinance to ban kratom within San Diego’s city limits. The ban classified kratom as a public nuisance and prohibited its possession, sale, and distribution. Violators can face civil penalties and up to months in jail.

Impact on Kratom Industry and Users

The ban has had a significant impact on the kratom industry and its users:

  • The kratom industry in San Diego, which was once thriving, has faced substantial setbacks. Kratom shops and online distributors within the city have been forced to shut down or relocate.
  • Kratom users in San Diego have been affected by the lack of availability of the substance within the city limits. This has forced some to consider other substances or alternative practices.
  • Advocacy groups like the American Kratom Association have actively fought against the ban, citing a variety of potential impacts related to kratom and advocating for its proper regulation rather than a complete ban.

image of legality of kratom in california

The Legality of Kratom in California

The regulation of the herbal supplement kratom has become a contentious issue across California in recent years. Derived from leaves of the kratom tree, kratom contains alkaloids that produce psychotropic effects, prompting debate over its health impacts and potential for abuse.

While kratom remains legal at the statewide level in California, some local jurisdictions have moved to enact bans or restrictions. Most notably, the city of Oceanside approved an ordinance in March 2016 making it illegal to sell or possess kratom within city limits. As per the Oceanside Code of Ordinances Article VII, kratom is subject to the same regulations as synthetic cannabinoids and other “novel psychoactive substances,” resulting in a total ban.

Those convicted of kratom possession in Oceanside face penalties of up to a $1000 fine or up to six months in jail. City officials argued kratom poses a threat to public health due to its properties and potential for abuse. However, advocacy groups criticized the ban, stating it would encourage unsafe black-market kratom sales in the city.

Advocacy groups like the American Kratom Association criticized the Oceanside ban, stating it would encourage unsafe black market sales. However, the ordinance reflects growing concerns about kratom risks and indicates momentum for broader prohibition in California.

The future of kratom’s legality across California remains uncertain. Though currently lawful outside of select local bans, increasing scrutiny from law enforcement and health officials over safety hazards could lead to wider statewide regulation or criminalization. Kratom proponents will continue fighting to keep access open, arguing its benefits. The complex debates over kratom’s virtues versus risks are likely to persist in California.

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