August 31, 2016 | Cassius Kamarampi
(Era of Wisdom) What gives a government the right to use force against people for consuming an herb or substance?
In my humble opinion, nothing gives the state or anyone that right. After decades of the drug war in the United States and all over the world, it’s abundantly, obscenely clear that people should have a right to consume what they will, and the law doesn’t stop people either way.
Despite all of this, the consistently criminal Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) essentially declared martial law on kratom yesterday, placing it into an “emergency” Schedule 1 classification: the same classification heroin is placed under.
After the head of DEA Michele M. Leonhart was forced to step down over a scandal involving cartel supplied prostitutes in Columbia, how could anyone consider their authority legitimate, even if one believes the government should be able to regulate what we consume?
Even an article from Forbes agrees this is ridiculous, saying “in the last two months, published research has pointed to why kratom might be a useful and safer alternative to prescription opioids.”
The Forbes article went viral and it’s author David Kroll sent kind words to the American Kratom Association on Facebook, saying this:
“Fresh on the heels of the CDC labeling kratom as an emerging “public health threat,” the notoriously fascistic U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has filed a notice of intent to not only list it as a controlled substance, but the DEA is planning to add it to the most restrictive classification possible.
Mitragyna speciosa, aka kratom, and its two primary constituents, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine are going to be placed onto schedule 1 temporarily beginning on September 30th.
This information comes from a filing from the DEA on August 30th, but the full announcement is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register on August 31st.
Kratom is not an opiate but functions in a similar manner, i.e. attaching to activating opioid receptors. The substance has been shown to alleviate chronic pain and anxiety as well as aid in overcoming addiction despite its own “euphoric effects.””
Kratom vendors are already reporting difficulties in importing the herb, or ducking for cover to avoid being the victims of government force.
Click here to sign the petition requesting that kratom remain legal.
The DEA’s history is consistently criminal. From working with Colombian drug cartels to leaving an innocent student starving for days in a jail cell, an understanding of the moral illegitimacy of the DEA is all we need to tear apart the effort to ban kratom.
An article from Drug Policy Alliance titled “DEA “Sex Scandal” is Not about Sex – It’s about Corruption and Impunity in the War on Drugs” sums it up well:
“Recent revelations that DEA agents attended “sex parties” hosted by the very drug traffickers they were supposed to be fighting fell like a bombshell.
Despite the shocking headlines, though, this scandal isn’t really about sex – and it’s much bigger than the DEA. At its core, this sordid tale is about the futility and corruption of prohibition – told through the lens of a rogue agency that represents everything wrong with the war on drugs.
According to a Justice Department report, several DEA agents (some with top secret clearances) allegedly participated in multiple orgies with hired sex workers “funded by the local drug cartels.” Some also received money, gifts and weapons from these traffickers. The parties occurred at the agents’ “government-leased quarters”, where laptops and other equipment were accessible – raising “the possibility that DEA equipment and information also may have been compromised as a result of the agents’ conduct.”
This story made national news because it’s the DEA. But drug traffickers dishing out favors to local, state and federal law enforcement happens every day, both inside and outside of the U.S.
Moreover, the DEA wasn’t the only federal agency with personnel recently implicated in drug war-related crimes in Colombia. Though less widely reported, a much more serious allegation emerged that U.S. soldiers and military contractors raped at least 54 women and girls between 2004 and 2007 while deployed as part of Plan Colombia – the nearly $10-billion U.S. drug war military aid package.”
This is what they can get away with: Daniel Chong was a student at UC San Diego who was incarcerated by the DEA and forgotten about in a jail cell. According to Wikipedia:
“He was placed in a 5 by 10 feet (1.5 m × 3.0 m) holding cell, his wrists bound in handcuffs. He was then left in the windowless cell for five days despite repeated cries for help. He could hear people walking around outside the room but could not get their attention. At one point the lights went off for several days. While locked up, he was starving and hallucinating. He claimed that, while incarcerated, he had to drink his own urine for hydration, and ingested some methamphetamine that he found under a blanket inside the cell in order to keep himself awake. He attempted suicide by breaking one of the lenses in his eyeglasses, slitting his wrists with the shards and swallowing them.”
In some states, kratom has already been banned. People have received prison time, had thousands of dollars in cash and property confiscated, for illegally selling kratom alone. Alabama has seen perhaps the strictest enforcement of kratom laws.
Earlier this year in Alabama, police pulled over a man and asked if he had anything illegal in the car. He replied saying he only had some kratom, probably thinking he would be alright. Wrong: he had a mere 8 ounces of kratom and was arrested, charged with “possession of synthetic drugs.” Kratom isn’t even synthetic, it’s leaf material.
This woman was incarcerated in Alabama for selling kratom at her convenience store. The article says “43-year-old Tara Kc was charged with two counts of distribution of a controlled substance and one count of possession. Kc has been released from the Limestone County Jail on a $22,500 bond.”
(Image credit: WHNT)
In perhaps Alabama’s most extreme case, a Cullman resident had his car and over 57,000$ (likely unrelated to his kratom) confiscated, and his freedom stolen from him. According to Cullman Times “police said undercover officers purchased the drug from Mohammed Hizam Nasser Ali, 24, on multiple occasions.”
The article continues:
“Investigators seized more 200 packages of Kratom, a controlled substance recently banned by the Alabama Legislature, along with $2,000 in cash and a 2006 Ford Freestyle. Authorities said they witnessed the vehicle being used to commit a crime during the undercover investigation.
Police then executed a second search warrant at the Jet Pep where they found more Kratom and seized $57,000 in cash.
After consulting with Cullman County District Attorney Wilson Blaylock the following day, police charged Ali with five counts of unlawful distribution of a controlled substance and five counts of attempt to commit a controlled substance crime.”
Does Alabama’s treatment of kratom vendors sound nice? Imagine how it will be for the rest of the United States if the DEA’s scheduling of kratom becomes permanent.
Kratom enthusiasts have no choice but to fight this ruling rooth and nail: fighting for the right to kratom are organizations such as the American Kratom Association.
A recent statement from the American Kratom Association reads:
“The American Kratom Association is sad to announce that the DEA has decided to do an Emergency Scheduling of the two key alkaloids in Kratom, Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine.”
“We will be working with our advisors to determine how best to approach and unwind this situation, if at all possible.
We hope the kratom community will stay calm and work together to defuse this terrible mistake by the DEA.
-Paul Kemp, CIO
Just a note on today’s utterly tragic news (and thoroughly disgusting tactic by our government that will leave blood on their hands should this rule be enacted). It’s a proposed rule to be published tomorrow with effective date of Sept 30. Proposed rules invite public comment. We need to get THOUSANDS of letters in to DEA with our stories in the next 30 days. This team will put a plan together shortly.
-Susan Ash Founder/Director”
It should need no further explanation: the DEA is criminal and kratom is an innocuous herb. Even if you don’t believe we have an inherent right to consume plants, this is a criminal act: using force against people who try to import, sell, or consume Mitragyna speciosa.
Please share this with absolutely as many people as possible.
This article (Kratom Now Schedule 1: Cartel Sex Scandal Shamed DEA Suppresses Herb Imports) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Era of Wisdom.org.