Officials say Kratom officially off of most shelves, law enforcement agencies tracking down any last bit of the illegal substance

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. —  Law enforcement agencies across the state have been instructing merchants to  pull the now illegal drug Kratom off shelves. Possession is now the equivalent of the possession of meth — a felony.

You would be hard pressed to find Kratom in Marshall County now, or for that matter, across the state of Alabama. Last week Governor Robert Bentley signed a bill making the substance illegal. Shortly after, officials across the state went from store to store, informing merchants of the changes.

In Marshall County — like many others — that movement to inform merchants started immediately in each municipality in the county. “All of the chiefs assured me that all of the stores that they went through, there was no Kratom on the shelves that they saw,” Assistant District Attorney Chris Abel says.

The substance used to be available for purchase in multiple forms including liquid shot bottles and pills. There was no age limit for purchasing it, and it was for sale at gas stations.

The Marshall County District Attorney gave merchants a short grace period to get rid of the drug, but said to do it sooner rather than later. Some business owners brought the drug in to the District Attorney’s office to dispose of it. That offer still stands. “As long as they come to us and let us know and bring that in to us, they wouldn’t be charged,” Abel explains, “If we’re out, and find the substance on them, of course they’re going to be charged.”

Officials say so far, there haven’t been any seizures. “Luckily, at least to this point, from all of the checks and all of the information I’ve gotten, the notices were successful and nobody’s been charged as of this time,” Abel says.

The District Attorney’s office voiced concerns prior to the ban, saying teens were abusing the substance, which causes addiction.