Is Kratom Legal in California?

Kratom Laws in California

Welcome to the third installment of our “Is Kratom Legal in My State?” series of posts. With this series of articles, we aim to answer some of our most frequently asked questions regarding kratom law. We hope you are finding this series informative, and enjoyed our previous posts regarding kratom legality. Now let’s dive in to ‘Is Kratom Legal in California?”.

The laws surrounding kratom legality and regulation can be a bit vague and confusing. As kratom is legal in most of California, the goal today is give you an overview of the topic, and answer the question of the hour: Why is kratom banned in San Diego?

Ever since kratom’s boom in popularity within the previous decade, states have struggled to adopt a uniform regulatory procedure.

From state to state, county to county, and even city to city: The law may differ. Due to the lack of a national regulatory body like the FDA willing to provide oversight, kratom laws and regulations are left to the smaller state and local regulatory bodies.

The answer to “is kratom legal in California?” is no different. Well, we will string you along no longer. The simple answer to our question is, yes, kratom is mostly legal in California. Now this answer doesn’t exactly shed much light on the situation, so let us explain.

Kratom is banned in two cites in California: San Diego (population: 1,410,000 residents) and Oceanside (population: 175,000 residents). Both cities are located in San Diego County. This means that almost 1.6 million California residents are denied access to the traditional Southeast Asian herb. 

California Kratom Bans

San Diego and Oceanside have banned kratom. These are the only cities (and county) in California to have a ban.

Much like Sarasota County in Florida, the Cities of San Diego banned kratom by way of a local ordinance. (Check out our previous post “Is Kratom Legal in Florida?” here)

Here’s how the cities managed to do it:

San Diego Kratom Ban

The sale, purchase, and possession of kratom has been banned in the city of San Diego since June, 14, 2016. 

Citing similar reasoning and verbiage to Oceanside’s city ban, kratom was once again compared to other Schedule 1 “novel psychoactive synthetic drugs”. The city ordinance was passed by the San Diego City Council, despite heavy resistance from local kratom proponents.

The story of San Diego and legal proceedings against kratom does not stop there. In 2020, The San Diego County Board of Supervisors stopped just short of declaring kratom a “public nuisance”. 

In a vote of of 4-1, with only board member Kristin Gaspar opposing, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors instructed county agencies to consult and come up with “options”. One such option included the ban of kratom countywide.

Gaspar argued the hypocrisy of a city ban on kratom. She claimed that if there was not evidence of harm sufficient for a federal ban, why would the city take such drastic measures? 

Another proponent of kratom pointed to the fact that there has never been a kratom related death in the history of San Diego County. 

While the board voted in favor of hearing out “options”, ultimately, the county-wide kratom ban never came to be in San Diego County.

Oceanside Kratom Ban

Kratom is officially prohibited within the city limits of Oceanside under Article VII of the Oceanside City Code of Ordinance. This ban includes buying, purchasing, or even possessing kratom as long as you are within the city’s borders.

Likening kratom to synthetic drugs like spice and bath salts, the Oceanside City Council erroneously classifies kratom as a synthetic drug. Any violation of Article VII can result in a fine of up to $500 for each individual infraction.

Vendors violating provisions of Article VII run the risk of losing their business license, as well as the additional $500 misdemeanor possession charge.

Shipping Around the Ban?

Now we know what our readers must be thinking. Wouldn’t it be simple to just order kratom via an online vendor and have it shipped discreetly to your home? Well, we here at Top Tree certainly don’t recommend it.

Vendors willing to ignore state, county, and city ordinances in pursuit of profit certainly do not care about the integrity of their product. Vendors with this mindset are likely to partake in other shady cost-reducing practices that could ultimately compromise their product quality and safety.

Kratom Regulation in California

You now know kratom is mostly legal in California. The question remains: is it regulated?

The answer to this important question is “no.” Although, there have been proposals, official legislation at the state level has never come to fruition.

In fact, a proposal for kratom regulation has never made it to the California state legislature. This is a discovery that we find disturbing given that kratom is legal for purchase (essentially) everywhere in the state.

Without state or federal oversight, we recommend that California residents take a close look at the kratom products they choose to buy. Always check to ensure that your local (or online) vendor is, at the very least, using AKA certified kratom.

If you’re a California resident still wary of buying unregulated kratom, we suggest you try our American Kratom Association certified kratom tea bags. We test all of our kratom in a lab. Our tea bags also comes in great flavors such as passion fruit, peach, lemon-lime and more! I mean, if you’re going to consume kratom, we recommend going for the best!

In addition, our tea is 100% natural, so no worrying about any foreign additives in our tea. While kratom is still unregulated, we do our very best to ensure safety and quality from farm to packaging.

Again, we urge our all of readers to stay up to date with their local and state discussions regarding regulation. The state of California is not currently considering an bills to establish a regulatory framework. However, localities may introduce their own regulations.

Stay Informed! We recommend checking the AKA’s kratom state legality and legislation page for any news concerning your state’s kratom laws.

The Case for Kratom Regulation

Who knew kratom laws could be so complicated? Well, to be a bit smug, we did. It is our job after all!

We are dedicated to providing the highest quality kratom to our loyal consumers. In addition, we’ve spent a considerable portion of our time advocating for kratom consumers’ rights.

Just last March, our very own co-founder Sam Weber attended Colorado State Senate’s discussion to testify in favor of The Colorado Kratom Consumer Protection Act. If passed, Senate Bill 22-120 will establish a regulatory framework for kratom in the state of Colorado.

In addition, regulation of kratom provides oversight for proper growing and processing conditions. 

The Importance Of Regulations

Kratom in its intended form is a natural product, and thus is subject to potentially dangerous biological processes such as molding.

The importance of kratom regulation ensures that only the highest quality kratom hits the market. Which means consumers receive a safe product. Without regulation, many online vendors will cut corners. Sometimes vendors will forego lab-testing, label products incorrectly, or even mix in potentially harmful additives.

For instance, our kratom is lab-tested and cGMP certified by the AKA. This ensures that, at the very least, our kratom is in fact pure kratom leaf from the Mitragynia speciosa plant. It also ensures we used proper manufacturing, production, and packaging processes before shipping to our customers.

Now, you may be wondering, as a kratom company ourselves: Wouldn’t it be easier for Top Tree if kratom was unregulated? Then we could sell whatever product we wanted to anybody.

The truth is, we care about kratom and its roots as a traditional Southeastern Asian beverage. And we care about you.

Before kratom hit the international market, people enjoyed traditional tea. In its natural form, in its natural habitat. We want to protect the traditional brew’s reputation. It is imperative that all eligible parties can see what kratom has to offer.

If this means complying with regulations to ensure that our kratom tea is at the highest quality possible, then we’re all here for it!

In Conclusion

Finito!  Not exactly as riveting as our exposés about panda dung tea or the unique cultures of the world was it? 

Still, we thank you for sticking with us and tapping into another one of our informative kratom law articles. 

It is important to know the state of kratom law. Better yet, know the law and then start advocating. Advocacy is the best way to ensure that we can continue to provide quality kratom to all of our loyal customers.

Don’t forget that your support is important at all levels, and could ultimately help decide the legal fate of our beloved Mitragynia speciosa plant.

Contact your local officials to stay up to date with local bills and discussions taking place! San Diego residents can reach to County Supervisor Kirstin Gaspar and thank her and urge her to continue fighting at:



Thank you again for reading our latest installment concerning the legality of kratom in your state, and we hope you enjoyed “Is Kratom Legal in California?”.

And, as always…

Cheers to better brewing!

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