Latest update on kratom laws in Alabama - currently illegal

Is Kratom Legal in Alabama? Greatest Hurdles in 2024

After seeing many well-meaning companies spread a good bit of misinformation on kratom’s legal status in various states, Top Tree put together a series of comprehensive, thoroughly researched kratom law & news articles. If you’re wondering “is kratom legal in Alabama?” we’ll walk you through the latest updates and future prospects for kratom legality in the state.

Did you know that Alabama was the first state to recognize Christmas as an official holiday back in 1836? If you’re a fan of terrestrial mollusks, you might enjoy knowing that 43% of all snails in the United States live in Alabama.

Now, you may or may not know that bear wrestling is illegal in Alabama—but chances are, that’s not the Alabama law you came here to learn about. So, since you probably came here to find out about kratom legality in Alabama, you’re in the right place (if you’re here to learn about bear legislation, you might want to turn around).

We’re here to cover the past and present Alabama kratom laws for you, as well as the future outlook on the legal status of kratom in AL.

2024 Update on Kratom Legality in Alabama

So, is kratom legal in Alabama? The answer is no; it is currently illegal to possess, sell, or buy kratom in Alabama.

However, laws are subject to change—in fact, Vermont removed kratom from its list of controlled substances in 2023. There are thousands of advocates in the kratom community fighting to legalize kratom across the US.

Related: Can You Bring Kratom Through Airports in Illegal States? Read the Complete Guide to Flying with Kratom

Will you ever be able to buy kratom in Alabama? Well, let’s answer that question by first taking an in-depth look at past Alabama kratom legislation.

Overview of Alabama Kratom Laws: When Did Alabama Ban Kratom?

Before trying to determine what the future may hold for Alabama kratom legality, let’s look at the legal history of kratom in the state.

Although Alabama is one of the few states where kratom is illegal, it was not one of the earliest states to schedule kratom. As a matter of fact, Alabama was the sixth and final state to ban kratom.

Before 2016, kratom was legal in the state. It wasn’t until May of 2016 that Governor Robert Bentley signed Senate Bill 226, making it illegal to sell, possess, or buy kratom in Alabama.

Interestingly, the AL SB 226 didn’t originally list kratom as a controlled substance. Rather, the bill was amended to include two of kratom’s alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.

According to the Ninth Circuit District Attorney Mike O’Dell, Representative Nathaniel Ledbetter and Senator Steve Livingston helped pass the bill by bringing kratom to his attention.

SB226 doesn’t mention the word “kratom” specifically. Yet the inclusion of these two alkaloids in the list of controlled substances effectively makes it a felony to possess kratom products of any kind, from kratom tea bags to kratom alkaloid extracts.

Title 20 of Alabama code, show kratom is illegal in Alabama as a Schedule I substance in Alabama, so there are harsh consequences for sale and possession.
Two alkaloids found in kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are listed as a Schedule I controlled substances in Alabama. While the law doesn’t reference “kratom” anywhere and incorrectly lists the alkaloids as synthetic substances, kratom is still illegal in Alabama. there are harsh criminal penalties for sale and possession of kratom in the state.

Frustratingly, the bill categorizes mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine as synthetic controlled substances which is inaccurate. Both alkaloids are naturally occurring compounds found in the dried leaves of the kratom tree.

Other states that have banned kratom also have incorrectly categorized the plant and its alkaloids. It’s not even unheard of to find misspellings in legislation pertaining to kratom; for example, the new Indiana kratom bill misspells “mitragynine.”

Penalties for Selling, Possessing, or Buying Kratom in Alabama

So, what exactly does Alabama SB 226 entail? Well, first of all, it makes kratom a Schedule I controlled substance in Alabama. This means that kratom sale and possession is not just unlawful in Alabama, it is also criminalized.

This classification in the Alabama kratom law allows AL authorities to press the same charges for kratom as they would for other Schedule I substances, such as methamphetamine and heroin.

The fees and penalties for violating the law vary by the weight of kratom and the exact offense. The penalties may be increased for individuals with prior offenses. Title 13A, Chapter 12, Article 5 of the Alabama code lays out the following penalties:

  • Possession: If you get caught in possession of kratom for personal use, it’s considered a Class D felony. A person charged with a Class D felony can face a prison sentence of 1-5 years and fines up to $7500.
  • Trafficking Kratom: Sale, manufacture, delivery, or possession (actual or constructive) of 56 or more grams of a synthetic controlled substances constitutes trafficking in the state of Alabama. Depending upon the exact amount, prison sentences for this charge can range from 3 years to life, and fines can range from $50,000 to $250,000.
  • Giving Kratom to Minors: Selling or giving kratom to anyone under the age of 18 in Alabama is considered a Class A felony. For this offense, “the imposition or execution of sentence shall not be suspended and probation shall not be granted.”
  • Manufacturing Kratom: Depending upon the circumstances, manufacture of a controlled substance in Alabama is considered either a Class A or Class B felony.

You can thus be charged with drug trafficking for being caught with just 2 ounces of kratom powder or other kratom products.

Even if you’re carrying a small amount of kratom, you shouldn’t visit or drive through Alabama. Driving through any state where kratom is illegal poses significant risks. Alabama’s harsh sanctions warrant special attention.

Why Is Kratom Illegal in Alabama?

Whenever a state schedules kratom—especially as late as 2016—it’s pretty jarring to think about the toll that the decision can have on the citizens that the state government is supposedly trying to protect.

On one day, Alabama residents are freely exercising their right to buy kratom in their state. The next, they could find themselves facing Class D felony charges and multiple years in prison for kratom possession.

So, why did Alabama ban kratom? The main reason legislators criminalized kratom in Alabama is that they were expecting a federal kratom ban in 2016. Earlier that year, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) had announced its plans to change kratom’s federal legal status to a Schedule I controlled substance.

Related: Update on Kratom Legality Across the US: State Age Restrictions and Other Regulations

However, the DEA was faced with an ardent outcry from tens of thousands of kratom supporters. In response, the DEA withdrew its plan to Schedule kratom.

Nevertheless, the Alabama kratom ban passed, and kratom remains scheduled in Alabama to this day. The kratom community in Alabama rallied together in an effort to fight back. Though they lost, the spirit of their effort persists.

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Public Reaction to the Alabama Kratom Ban in 2016

When news of a possible kratom ban in Alabama reached the public, many kratom advocates lent their voices to fight against it. Opponents of the Kratom bill suggested that instead of passing a ban, Alabama should regulate kratom.

Efforts to prevent the Alabama kratom included several pro-kratom petitions as well as press releases against the ban. Kratom defenders even gathered at the State House to share their testimonies and fight the pending ban.

Unfortunately, the police gave residents little time to prepare for the decision. In a matter of mere hours after Governor Bentley signed SB 226 into law, the Tuscaloosa police had already begun raiding local businesses that were selling kratom and confiscating it.

They declared that by the following day, they would begin arresting and prosecuting people for the possession, distribution, or manufacture of kratom.

Etowah County Sheriff Todd Entrekin stated, “This is fair warning to those who sell or possess this product. Get rid of it or go to jail.” [In 2018, Sheriff Entrekin was found to have pocketed over $700,000 worth of government funds allocated to feed inmates in the Etowah County jail.]

Mike O’Dell echoed Entrekin’s warning. O’Dell said that although he hoped that merchants would cooperate voluntarily, the public should rest assured knowing that officers “will be aggressive in identifying and handling violations.

Fortunately, officers inspecting businesses for kratom were surprised to find that the next day, there wasn’t much kratom out there. Apparently, word got out, and businesses had enough time to take kratom off the shelves before it became illegal.

In spite of the ban’s swift and aggressive enforcement, the kratom community’s strong communication reduced the number of potential Alabama kratom arrests.

Why Shaina Brown Was Arrested for Kratom Trafficking in Alabama

In 2023, Shaina Brown was arrested near the Alabama border after police officers found kratom in her car during a traffic stop.

Shaina had just crossed over the unmarked border from Florida into Alabama. In Florida, kratom is legal for purchase by anyone over the age of 21 (though at the time of Shaina Brown’s arrest, there were no regulations on kratom in Florida whatsoever). Shaina said she had no idea she had even crossed state lines.

News reports say Shaina had about 250g of kratom in her possession. This is a very normal amount of kratom to possess for personal use, but constitutes trafficking in Alabama.

Her initial bond was set at $1 million. It took many months for lawyers and advocates to get the bond reduced to a reasonable amount. Shaina remained in jail for 7 months before she made bail. Soon after her release from custody,  Shaina spoke to advocates and push for federal kratom regulation and state decriminalization alongside the AKA in Washington, DC.

Future Outlook: Will Kratom Ever Be Legal in the State?

Currently, the situation regarding kratom legality in Alabama remains devastating. The list of Alabama kratom arrests continues to grow.

Still, the fight to legalize kratom in Alabama isn’t over. One of the American Kratom Association’s (AKA) goals is to replace existing kratom bans with bills to regulate kratom. It’s not impossible for this to happen in Alabama.

How You Can Help

To help fight the kratom ban in Alabama, contact your state senators and representatives to ask them to support kratom decriminalization.

Additionally, you can stay up to date with kratom news and research. You can sign up for the AKA’s updates, joining r/Kratom on Reddit, or subscribe to our newsletter.

Furthermore, you can vote with your dollar. Buying from vendors who support the Kratom Consumer Protection Act. Doing so helps prevent unsafely produced or improperly labeled kratom products from remaining on the market.

A number of Alabama residents continue doing their part to educate, raise awareness, and fight for kratom in their state. The issue of kratom regulation over criminalization in Alabama isn’t just relevant to Alabamans, however. It’s relevant to all members of the kratom community across the globe.

No matter where you are, you can help changes people’s minds and reduce misinformation about kratom.

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Rickie Mixon
Rickie is a kratom advocate, tea-lover, and writer for Top Tree Herbs. She has always been fascinated by science, philosophy, and nature. She decided to become a writer with the aim of tackling the misinformation crisis, fighting prohibitionism, and expanding her own knowledge. When she’s not accumulating facts or working, you can probably catch her outside running with her Carolina dog, pestering others with her horrible puns, or rambling about Devonian sea life.

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