HB 293 details new laws for kratom legality and regulation in Kentucky

Is Kratom Legal in Kentucky? New Laws in 2024

Kratom’s legal status in Kentucky has recently changed. Let’s explore the updated answer to the question, “is kratom legal in Kentucky?” and then dig into the details of current and past kratom legislation in the state.

After you get the scoop on kratom legality in Kentucky, make sure to visit our kratom news hub. Plus, you can view our updated guide to kratom legality and age limits across the United States.

Is Kratom Legal in Kentucky?

The answer is yes, with a few caveats. In early 2024, kratom was legal to buy, sell, and manufacture in Kentucky for individuals of any age.

However, in April of 2024, the Kentucky legislature passed a bill to regulate kratom. Kentucky is now the 12th state to establish a regulatory framework for kratom that emphasizes consumer protection.

The new Kentucky kratom act is expected to go into effect on July 3, 2024. This is 90 days after it was signed into law by Governor Beshear on April 4, 2024. After this date, there will be restrictions on the manufacture and sale of kratom in Kentucky.

The 2024 Kentucky Kratom Consumer Protection Act

The 2024 Kentucky kratom bill, HB 293, was introduced on January 14, 2024. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Kimberly Moser (R), Rep. Steve Bratcher (R), and Rep. Josh Calloway (R). While it does not have a formal name, advocates frequently refer to the act as the Kentucky Kratom Consumer Protection Act.

Interesting Original Bill Features That Were Removed Before Passage

The introduced version of the bill contained interesting requirements that haven’t been previously included in most state KCPA bills. Here are some of the notable provisions of the original version of HB 293:

  • Required kratom processors and retailers to obtain a license from the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control before manufacturing, distributing, or selling any kratom product in the state
  • Set a yearly licensing fee of $1000 for kratom processors and $500 for kratom retailers
  • Mandated lab testing for 7-hydroxymitragynine, other kratom constituents, pesticide residues, heavy metals, mycotoxins, residual solvents, and microbiological contaminants
  • Mandated that labels enable consumers to access the product’s certificate of analysis and other information through a scannable barcode, QR code, or web address
  • Set a penalty of $50 per day and required an administrative hearing to take place for any violations of the manufacturing and labeling requirements

Some of these provisions are not entirely unprecedented. States like West Virginia and Utah have included licensing requirements for kratom. The 2024 Wisconsin kratom bill similarly mandated consumer access to certificates of analysis, but this bill unfortunately died.

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Regardless, the provisions didn’t make it into the final bill. A new version of the Kentucky bill was substituted for the original before it was passed to the Senate.

Final Kentucky KCPA Overview

The substituted version of the bill was more lax than the original. It now resembles a more standard KCPA like the kratom laws established in Oklahoma or Texas.

The signed Kentucky kratom law still creates age limits and some labeling requirements, but no longer includes licensing requirements, mandated lab testing, or links to certificates of analysis. Here are the main regulations that are included in the bill and will take effect in mid-2024:

  • Sets the legal age to buy kratom in Kentucky at 21 years old
  • Prohibits sale of adulterated kratom products, kratom products containing any synthetic alkaloids, and products with residual solvents higher than the designated level
  • Restricts the level of 7-hydroxymitragynine to no more than 2% of the overall alkaloid composition of each product
  • Establishes labeling requirements
  • Sets penalties and fines for violations of the act
  • Allows the act to be superseded by any federal department or agency regulations that are established in the future

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is responsible for formally putting these regulations into effect.

Product Labeling Requirements

The labeling requirements for kratom products in Kentucky are fairly standard. Undoubtedly, they are essential for protecting consumer safety in the state.

Related: The Primary Reasons Top Tree Herbs Supports the Kratom Consumer Protection Act

In Kentucky, all kratom product labels must now list all ingredients, the amount of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine in the product, the recommended servings size, the number of servings per container, and the name and street address of the vendor or distributor.

Each label must also include precautionary statements about the safety and effectiveness of the kratom product. Further, it must let consumers know that kratom extracts and other kratom products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical condition or disease.

Whether or not you live in a state which has set labeling requirements for kratom products, make sure to vet your kratom vendor. In the past, companies’ failure to comply with kratom product labeling standards has contributed to serious issues for consumers and high-stakes lawsuits.

Penalties for Violating the Kentucky Kratom Act

The penalties for kratom processors or retailers that violate the KY kratom law are civil, not criminal. For a first offense, they may be subject to a penalty of up to $500. For a second or subsequent offense, the penalty can be up to $1000.

Could Federal Law Make Kratom Illegal in Kentucky in the Future?

The final section of the Kentucky kratom bill stands out amongst the various kratom consumer protection acts. If the clause is replicated by other states, it could reduce the burden faced by U.S. consumers and manufacturers of having to follow dozens of disjunct state laws after the passage of federal regulations.

Last section of the 2024 Kentucky kratom law from HB 293
The recently passed Kentucky kratom law allows the new regulations to be superseded by any regulations created by the FDA, DEA, or other federal agency or department.

Certain federal agencies, especially the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have historically been hostile towards kratom. Kratom has come closer to being banned in the United States than it has come to being regulated.

However, lobbyists and advocates have gained traction in garnering federal legislators’ support for a Federal Kratom Consumer Protection Act. Plus, the FDA has recently been conducting its own studies related to kratom use and safety. The Federal KCPA differs greatly from state KCPAs, but it could lay the groundwork for future FDA regulations.

So the final clause seems to acknowledge the impending establishment of FDA kratom regulation. That is, if this is the correct interpretation of why the Kentucky legislators chose to include the clause in the first place. One could also view it as a way to allow for federal bans or DEA scheduling to take precedence over the Kentucky regulations.

2022 Attempt to Make Kratom Illegal in Kentucky

Let’s jump back a bit to look at the history of kratom legality in Kentucky. In 2022, Rep. Josh Calloway (R) and Rep. Daniel Elliot (R) introduced a Kentucky kratom ban bill, HB 142. If this bill had passed, the answer to the question, is kratom legal in Kentucky? would have been a strong no.

HB 142 aimed to amend Kentucky’s controlled substances code (KRS 218A) to make kratom illegal in Kentucky. Possession would have been a Class D felony. Additionally, the bill would have added kratom to the list of controlled substances that are illegal to traffic.

After the bill was introduced to the Kentucky House Committee on Committees in January, it was sent to the Committee on Health & Family Services. The bill went through a 1st reading, but was sent back to the House committee. It eventually died without crossing over to the Kentucky Senate. Fortunately, Kentucky did not get added to the list of states that have banned kratom.

In the two years since, Kentucky legislators have obviously changed their approach to keeping Kentucky consumers safe. As you might have noticed, Representative Calloway has flipped his script; he was one of the sponsors of the 2024 regulatory bill.

Implications of the Kentucky KCPA in Kentucky and Beyond

For most Kentuckians, the new law doesn’t change the answer to the question, is kratom legal in Kentucky? However, the new age limit will prevent access to anyone under 21. Moreover, manufacturers will have to follow specific processing and guidelines to legally sell kratom in the state.

This act not only aims to protect consumers by ensuring the quality and safety of kratom products but also legitimizes the kratom industry within the state. It provides clear guidelines for businesses to operate within a legal framework.

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On a broader scale, the passage of HB 293 highlights just how influential advocacy and stakeholder engagement is in the legislative process. While the unique provisions in the original version of the bill were not necessarily malignant, they may have priced out dedicated small businesses that operate according to (or above) industry standards.

Overall, the passage of the Kentucky KCPA represents a proactive approach to managing the complexities associated with kratom manufacture and distribution. The state has set a precedent that other states may look to as they navigate the process of creating policies on kratom.

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Caro Freinberg
Caro Freinberg is the head of web design at Top Tree. After many years working in wildlife conservation and veterinary medicine, she’s become passionate about writing on environmental biology and inter-species culture. When she's not whipping up never-been-brewed-before kratom tea recipes for the blog, you'll find her hiking or biking or sketching the day away.

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