State by State Kratom Update – 3/6/2018

GEORGIA

HR1160 was heard earlier today in the Georgia House Special Rules committee. The bill’s sponsor, Representative Dewayne Hill, testified before the committee in support of the bill.

The hearing can be found here starting at the 34:00 minute mark.

Rep. Hill mentioned that he’s been speaking with a local coroner who was informing him about the recent “deaths associated with kratom.” The coroner also pointed him towards the recent FDA statements made by Scott Gottlieb.

Several questions were posed to Rep. Hill that indicated this is not the first time members of this committee have heard about kratom. The last time kratom was brought up in the Georgia legislature, they received “an outpouring” of opposition from kratom consumers and ended up not taking any action.

Rep. Jonathan Wallace called Rep. Hill’s coroner claims into question by asking if other drugs were included in the deaths that were reported. Hill admitted that they were, and went on to say that all the cases contained levels of kratom that were higher than the other drugs, therefore we should ban it. In referring to people who use kratom, Rep. HIll stated “If they are taking one, they are taking two. If they are two, they are taking three,” seemingly attempting to paint all kratom consumers as people who are addicted and thus don’t deserve access to safe alternatives to prescription opioids.

House Committee member Scot Turner asked about the recent public comment period when the DEA attempted to emergency schedule kratom in 2016. Rep. Hill said that he “has not seen any reports on what they have accumulated from those comments.”

 

PROPOSED ACTION

Email Rep. Hill and educate him with links to the DEA open comment period that generated 23,000+ comments, 99% of which opposed the ban, as well as the 51 members of Congress that joined those 23,000 people in calling on the DEA to stand down.

Representative Dewayne Hill

Phone: (404) 656-0325

Email: dewayne.hill@house.ga.gov


 

MINNESOTA

After spending several hours speaking with the primary bill sponsor Senator Paul Anderson’s staff members regarding SF 2578, I have learned that an amendment that has yet to be posted online was introduced and unanimously passed on Monday. This amendment makes it a misdemeanor for anyone under the age of 18 to possess, buy or sell kratom. I’m told all language making kratom illegal for adults over 18 has been deleted.

In Minnesota the State Board of Pharmacy has the ability to schedule drugs without the permission of the legislature, but it is often the case that they seek permission from legislative bodies regardless to ensure there isn’t any blowback. In this specific case, the Board of Pharmacy’s bare minimum ask was for language regarding minors, which is exactly what they got.

The Minnesota Board of Pharmacy also submitted a report to the legislature which cites their concerns regarding kratom.

***If you are a resident with a background in research and or science, please let us know. We have direct contact information for the Executive Director at the Board of Pharmacy and would like to link them with someone who can help dispel some of the inaccurate items in the report that they are basing their claims on. ***

As soon as the amendment has been engrossed in the bill, it will be posted online, no later than Thursday afternoon according to the bill sponsor’s staff.

Feeling really good about this one right now, but will wait to see the amendment in writing before calling it a win. 92 people have emailed the committee via our platform thus far!

 

PROPOSED ACTION

Hang tight! I will post an update in the next 48 hours, as we will have much more info then.


 

TENNESSEE

The policy staffer who handles kratom in Speaker Beth Harwell’s office informed me today that an amendment to remove kratom from HB 1832 has been introduced and will be heard and potentially voted on in the hearing tomorrow.

The bill is in the House Criminal Justice Committee at 12pm CST tomorrow and can be watched live here.

 

PROPOSED ACTION

Email the Criminal Justice Committee and request that they accept the amendment that strikes kratom from the bill entirely.


 

KANSAS

SB 282 is up for a hearing THIS THURSDAY in the House Health and Human Services committee at 1:30pm CST.

We just received word that the committee held an informational hearing yesterday on the bill and that a member plans to introduce an amendment to remove kratom entirely. While this is great news for sure, we shouldn’t pretend it’s final until we’ve seen the amendment actually introduced and passed out of committee.

60 emails have been sent out to the committee thus far via our email platform! This is likely the last chance we have to amend this bill before it goes to the House floor for a vote, and then to the Governor’s desk for signature.

If you have heard from you representative on this bill, please let us know!

 

PROPOSED ACTION

Email the House Health and Human Services committee TODAY and request an amendment to strike all language regarding kratom.


 

Additional Resources

If you have made it this far down, you’re probably interested in utilizing the following resources that we’ve made available for advocates to track legislation.

 

Legislation Tracker Page: Chapman Action Network has a pro account with BillTracker that allows us to track all kratom bills in real time. It’s a great one stop shop if you’re interested in helping in multiple states. We thought it would be a resource worth investing in, as we have yet to see any other organization offer this type of tracking.



Drug Scheduling Authority By State: This is a document shows which agencies have the authority to schedule drugs in each respective state. As you can see, it’s not nearly and clear cut as one might expect. I made this document public, so anyone with a link should be able to access it. (The same information is also pasted below just in case!)

Below is a quick analysis of all 50 states and each of their respective state statutes regarding exactly who has the ability to schedule drugs. While this is by no means a full picture of each states process for scheduling, it generally gives us a good idea of where we would need to start if and when it comes time to cultivate proactive relationships with decision makers as it relates the the legality of Kratom.

***Red = Currently banned

Board of Pharmacy: 13 (Georgia, Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin)

Legislature & Board of Pharmacy or Department of Health: 11 (Arizona, California, Colorado, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, New York, Oklahoma, South Carolina, West Virginia)

Director, Commissioner, or Secretary of the Department of Health: 7 (Arkansas, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas, Vermont)

Legislature: 4 (Hawai’i, Nebraska, South Dakota, Utah)

State Board or Department of Health: 3 (Alabama, Maryland, Missouri)

Attorney General: 2 (Florida, Wyoming)

Commissioner of Consumer Protections w/ Advice from Commissioner of Pharmacy: 1 (Connecticut)

Governor: 1 (Alaska)

Secretary of the Department of State: 1 (Delaware)

Mayor w/ public comment: 1 (Washington D.C.)

Department of Human Services: 1 (Illinois)

Cabinet for Health and Family Services: 1 (Kentucky)

Secretary of the Department of Health and Hospitals: 1 (Louisiana)

Director of the Division of Consumer Affairs in the Department of Law & Public Safety: 1 (New Jersey)

Commission for Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities, and Substance Abuse Services: 1 (North Carolina, Tennessee)

 

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