Kratom now illegal in Alabama; law enforcement agencies putting out the word to business owners and citizens
NORTHEAST ALABAMA (WHNT) – A number of district attorneys across North Alabama are issuing public notices that Kratom is now illegal statewide. This includes the sale and possession of Kratom or any product containing Kratom. If you’re caught with it, you face felony charges.
Senate Bill 226 makes the possession and/or sale of the drug Kratom illegal. Governor Bentley signed the bill Tuesday. The Bill amends 20-2-23(4)(a) of the Code of Alabama by adding the two alkaloids of the plant Kratom to the controlled substances list. These two alkaloids are Mitragynine and Hydromitragynine, which research shows, connect to the brain at the opioid receptors and cause the documented opiod effects and major addiction issues.
In Alabama, Kratom has been commercially available in gas stations, various retail stores, and on the internet, and is sold under names such as Green Vein, Krishina Green Malay, Krazy Kratom, K Chill, Kali Green Indo, Viva-Zen, Viva-Lize, Zombie Matter, to name a few.
The Marshall County District Attorney’s office issued a notice Wednesday to law enforcement agencies and merchants across the county informing of the change. It spells out the details, and explains the repercussions if the product is sold, transferred, possessed, or distributed in any form. Officials in Marshall County had previously voiced concerns over the substance, saying teens were abusing the product in an alarming way. Kratom was available across the county in gas stations and smoke shops.
The Marshall County District Attorney’s Office is giving merchants and anyone possessing the substance until 3:00 p.m. Thursday, May 12th, to dispose of it. That can be done through the office by calling (256) 582-8113, or it can be properly disposed of by the owner. The District Attorney’s Office points out while there is a grace period to get rid of the products, it should be done immediately, as it is illegal.
Ninth Circuit District Attorney Mike O’Dell is also releasing a notice similar to the one that is distributed in Marshall County, warning of the changes, and immediate prosecution that will follow if merchants or buyers are found in possession of the drug. His office encompasses DeKalb and Cherokee Counties. “As a result of the Legislature’s action relating to Kratom, local law enforcement, and my office, will immediately begin enforcing this new law,” O’Dell said in a statement, “Thus, I am issuing this notice and warning to anyone who is possession of, or offering for sale, Kratom under any of the brand names being utilized and containing the illegal alkaloids, that violation of the new law is a Class D felony, and you will be prosecuted. A Notice and Warning is being disseminated to businesses throughout our two counties. Merchants in possession of these products should IMMEDIATELY remove them from their shelves and destroy these products. Any further sale, or offer for sale, of such products shall be subject to swift legal action.”
Law enforcement agents will begin identifying locations where the drug is stored or being sold, and will be authorized to seize the illegal substances and make the appropriate arrests. “Although possession and/or sale of Kratom is a criminal violation, I am most concerned about the health concerns involved with Kratom use,” O’Dell said, “Research shows that Mitragynine and Hydromitragynine are very powerful and dangerous substances, with Mitragynine being 13 times more powerful than morphine, and Hydromitragynine- found in much smaller quantities in Kratom-is 4 times more powerful than Mitragynine.”
According to the Alabama Department of Forensic Science, there is currently is no legitimate medical use for Kratom in the United States. Available as liquid shot bottles, powder, leaves, and pills, Kratom substances may be smoked, taken as a pill, snorted, or brewed into tea.
Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin announced that deputies will be seizing Kratom from stores in his jurisdiction after Governor Robert Bentley signed a new bill making the substance illegal.
Lawrence County Sheriff Gene Mitchell also issued notice this week that his deputies and the Lawrence County District Attorney’s Office are informing local business owners about the new law and having products removed from store shelves immediately.
Law enforcement and other officials sought to make the over-the-counter substance illegal saying it is as dangerous as narcotics. Bill opponents argued the plant-derived supplement helps with pain relief and isn’t dangerous.
If a business owner has any question about an item that they are currently selling at their business that they believe might contain Kratom, but they’re not sure, Sheriff Mitchell urges the business owner needs to contact their distributor and request a breakdown of the chemical components. If the product contains the two chemical alkaloids Miragynin and Hydromitragynine which are derived from Kratom plant, the business will be violating Alabama Controlled Substance laws.
Citizens who live in Lawrence County can also call the Drug Task Force office at (256) 974-2534 with questions.