Kratom Legislation in Ohio (2022)
Here at Top Tree, we often receive questions regarding the legality of kratom in a particular state. In this week’s post, we will be answering the question “Is kratom legal in Ohio?”. (Check out our previous post “Is Kratom Legal In California?” Here.)
Much like marijuana policy here in the United States, kratom policy can be a bit ambiguous. Due to the FDA’s disdain for the Southeast Asian Mitrogynia speciosa plant, policy regarding kratom has been left to state and local government interpretation.
For example: States like Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin voted to ban kratom statewide. In addition, some states like Florida and California have imposed local bans. States like Illinois, New Hampshire, and Tennessee ban kratom use and purchase for minors in the state.
So to address our question, is kratom legal in Ohio? Ohio residents rejoice, kratom is in fact legal throughout the state.
You can purchase kratom in Ohio’s various gas stations and head shops, though we recommend our AKA GMP certified kratom tea bags. It’s that simple!
Although kratom is legal in the state, this does not mean that kratom’s legal standing in Ohio has gone without challenge.
Senate Bill 239
In March 2019, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy voted to classify kratom as a schedule 1 drug.
This classification would liken kratom to other “harder” drugs like heroin, meth, and cocaine. Shortly after the Board’s decision, the American Kratom Association began to intervene.
The Ohio Board of Pharmacy (OBP) cited six kratom deaths via injection as evidence for the ban. In each of these cases, the “primary cause of death” would be listed as kratom. However, medical professionals and kratom advocates were quick to point out the fault in the OBP’s reasoning.
For starters, nearly all of these deaths (4/6) were in conjunction with the use of other illicit substances. As for the other two cases: One died of an apparent heart attack while the other died of pneumonia/flu.
Yet, all six cases continued to list kratom as a “primary cause of death”. The Ohio Board of Pharmacy would not comment when asked if they still maintained that kratom was a “primary” cause of death in these cases in 2018.
In addition, experts also weighed in on the Board’s statements. Edward Boyer, Professor of Emergency Medicine and kratom researcher at Harvard University, declared that the Board’s claims, “Need a lot of validation and should not be taken at face value”.
Senate Bill 239 Decision
The ban was slated to be enacted on August 5, 2019. Before the ban, authorities opened the decision to public comment. In part due to the AKA’s public campaign, the Board received thousands of emails that following week. Additionally, nearly 100 people showed up to the public hearing held on August 2nd to advocate for kratom and share their positive testimonials.
Well, the public outreach campaign worked. In response, authorities ultimately decided to delay Senate Bill 239.
With Senate Bill 239 being tabled, a new bill would be introduced shortly after. This bill, House Bill 318, would put forth a regulatory framework for kratom sale and purchase in Ohio.
But what exactly does “regulating kratom” mean?
Kratom Regulation Efforts, Is Kratom Legal in Ohio?
Well, we now know that kratom is legal in Ohio…But is kratom regulated? To get straight to the point; kratom is not regulated in the state of Ohio. To hammer it home, is kratom regulated? No. Legal? Yes.
While there are no current attempts to change kratom’s legal status in Ohio, there have been a few promising efforts to regulate the plant. So what exactly does regulation entail?
Regulation can include, but is not limited to:
- Prohibiting sale to minors
- Setting quality/potency restrictions
- Setting forth labeling/packaging requirements
- Establishing proper storage and manufacturing requirements
- Name regulatory bodies responsible for oversight
Now that you have an idea of what regulation may entail, let’s take a look at a couple of the most recent attempts to regulate kratom in Ohio.
House Bill 318
Republican member of the Ohio House of Representatives Gary Schener introduced House Bill 318 on August 13th, 2019. As we previously stated, this bill would have established a regulatory framework for kratom in the state of Ohio.
Schener sat through the public discussions pertaining to Senate Bill 239. He heard testimony from medical professionals, kratom advocates, and constituents in opposition to kratom.
Schener’s reasoning for sponsoring the bill was simple. He stated that some oversight was needed in order to avoid kratom being tainted with other harmful substances. Additionally, Schener stated that he believed kratom could be helpful as long as it was regulated.
House bill 318 aimed to set forth the following guidelines regarding kratom:
- Individuals under the age of 18 cannot legally purchase kratom
- All kratom products need to carry a label that clearly states the product and its ingredients
- Requires kratom vendors to apply for a special license to sell kratom products
- Requires kratom vendors to lab test their products before offering to consumers
Over half of all legislators voted to send House Bill 318 to the Ohio Public Health Committee. Unfortunately, this would be House Bill 318’s final resting place.
House Bill 318 would be Ohio’s first attempt to establish some form of Kratom Consumer Protection Act. It would not be the last.
House Bill 236
The latest bill regarding kratom regulation is House Bill 236. Like House Bill 318, House Bill 236 aimed to establish a regulatory framework for kratom sale, purchase, and possession.
House Bill 236 was introduced on March 25, 2022. The bill would require the Ohio Department of Agriculture to form a program responsible for monitoring the processing and sale of kratom products.
Additionally, this bill would prohibit the Ohio Board of Pharmacy from classifying kratom as a controlled substance under state law. House Bill 236 essentially creates Ohio’s very first Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Under House Bill 236, the Ohio Board of Agriculture would:
- Require kratom processors to obtain a special license
- Establish a procedure for testing kratom in compliance with state statues and procedures
- Establish a process for conducting annual inspections of license holders to ensure state regulation compliance
- Create labeling standards for kratom products; including serving size and product info
- Create procedures and requirements for the transportation and distribution of kratom products
Sounds like some solid requirements right? We think so too!
Fortunately, House Bill 236 passed in the Ohio House of Representatives on February 9th, 2022 by an overwhelming vote of 83-10! The bill remains pending under discussion with the Ohio Senate Committee of Health. If the bill passes the senate, it would still need Governor Mike Dewine’s approval in order to become law.
Advocacy for Kratom Regulation
Our readers might ask, what does Top Tree gain from advocating for kratom regulation?
Well, the short answer is; nothing.
We here at Top Tree believe that individuals should be able to enjoy kratom as nature intended. No additives, no foreign substances, and no alkaloid inconsistency from product to product. Kratom originated as a traditional Southeast Asian laborer’s tea, and we aim to return to these roots.
With proper regulation, several things begin to occur.
To begin, regulation virtually ensures kratom quality. Most regulatory frameworks require kratom to undergo strenuous lab testing and quality control measures. These measures ultimately determine the product that makes it to the consumer.
In short, vendors will often cut corners in search of profit. This could mean cutting kratom with potentially harmful substances, or offering a completely different product labeled as kratom. For instance, our kratom tea is AKA GMP certified – 100% natural kratom. We use independent lab testing in order to ensure that our consumers are getting a consistent product, with a consistent alkaloid profile.
Concurrently, kratom regulation allows consumers to feel safe and normalize responsible kratom consumption… Much like your daily cup of joe, we want the stigma associated with kratom consumption to be a thing of the past!
State regulation will help ensure that kratom can continue to be safe for consumers, as well as protect those responsible vendors (like ourselves) looking to preserve kratom’s traditional reputation.
Whew! Such a complicated answer for such a simple question.
Is kratom legal in Ohio? Yes! Are the laws regarding kratom much more complicated than you may have previously thought? Certainly!
If you made it this far, we thank you for sticking around to educate yourself on the finer points of Ohio’s kratom laws and regulations. As we’ve stated, we care a great deal about kratom advocacy and education at Top Tree. Your education does not stop here!
If you’re interested in the kratom laws and regulations, check out the AKA’s handy legislation map here! Located at the bottom of this map, there is even a sign-up link to receive the latest kratom legislation news in your state. Additionally, you can even complete the AKA’s Congressional District Volunteer form to become a part of their American Kratom Protectors grassroots campaign.
No matter how you choose to show support, always choose to continue to educate yourself about kratom. Our posts may provide a great resource to understanding your state’s kratom laws, but there is a world of information out there!
Advocacy and education will always be your friend when navigating the crazy world of kratom.
Feel free to message us with any questions or concerns, and as always…
Cheers to better brewing!