Kratom Colorado New Legislation Update – Westword
At 1:30 p.m. today, March 16, the Colorado Legislature’s Senate finance committee is scheduled to discuss Senate Bill 22-120, also known as “Regulation of Kratom Processors,” the first major bill int…….
At 1:30 p.m. today, March 16, the Colorado Legislature’s Senate finance committee is scheduled to discuss Senate Bill 22-120, also known as “Regulation of Kratom Processors,” the first major bill introduced in the state that focuses on kratom, a popular organic substance of Southeast Asian origin. It’s also controversial, thanks to warnings from the federal Food and Drug Administration over questions about safety and claims that the herbal pain reliever is as addictive as the opioids that many users say it helped them stop taking.
Kratom legislation has been under discussion for years in Colorado, so today’s session represents a significant benchmark in establishing statewide standards, as opposed to the current patchwork of local regulations and bans. However, none of its three sponsors have been available to talk with Westword on the subject; Senators Joann Ginal and Don Coram did not respond to requests for interviews sent starting last week, and while a staffer for Representative Tom Sullivan offered to send a statement about the bill, it has yet to arrive.
In contrast, Mac Haddow, senior policy fellow for the American Kratom Association, makes it clear that his organization “strongly supports SB 22-120 and is actively advocating for its passage in the Colorado Legislature.”
Kratom made local headlines in November 2017, after what is now known as the Denver Department of Public Health and Environment issued a ban on its sale for human consumption. The decision came days after a public-health advisory from the FDA warning individuals not to consume kratom. Prior to this alert, reports circulated about more than a dozen deaths associated with, though perhaps not directly attributable to, use of the substance, which is known for its euphoric and pain-relieving effects.
The next month, seventeen members of Congress, including then-U.S. Representative Jared Polis, sent a letter to the FDA asking that the agency lift its public-health warning about kratom. Meanwhile, advocacy groups called for regulating kratom as states such as Colorado had done in respect to marijuana. The most prominent example was the creation of the so-called Kratom Consumer Protection Act, which, by 2019, had passed in four states (Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Utah) and was being discussed for introduction in Colorado. At the time, Haddow told Westword that American Kratom Association representatives had met with “a couple of Colorado legislators,” as well as staffers for Polis, who by then had been elected governor.
Although discussions about the possibility of a Kratom Consumer Protection Act bill surfacing in Colorado were still underway as late as February 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought the process to a screeching halt, and kratom remains banned for human consumption in Denver. But …….