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DEA holds off on scheduling kratom

Whether a substance is placed under one of the federal drug schedules and which schedule it is placed under are remarkably impactful things. They impact what the substance can be used for. They also affect whether and under what circumstances a person could face federal drug charges in connection to the substance, and what possible penalties would be connected to such charges.

There has been a lot of federal scheduling news regarding kratom in recent months. Kratom is a plant-based substance that has mitragynine as one of its primary active ingredients.

In late August, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration made an announcement saying it planned to place kratom in Schedule I of the federal drug schedules. However, after receiving lots of letters in opposition to this plan, the DEA changed its course. It recently opted to, for the time being, shelve the scheduling of this substance through withdrawing the notice of intent regarding the scheduling.

The course the agency is instead opting for now is taking public comments on the substance. It is accepting such comments up until Dec. 1. One wonders what action the DEA will ultimately decide on after this comment period.

Schedule I is the most restrictive of the federal drug schedules. The penalties for federal drug crimes involving Schedule I drugs can be particularly harsh. Also, what the federal government decides to do with the scheduling of a substance can influence what states decide to do with the substance in their own drug scheduling systems. So, whether or not the DEA eventually decides to return to its plan to give kratom Schedule I classification is something that could have significant implications.

What do you think will ultimately happen with kratom at the federal level and here in Michigan?

Source: NPR, “Kratom Gets Reprieve From Drug Enforcement Administration,” Lauren Silverman, Oct. 12, 2016

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