Is Kratom Legal? Current Status and Laws | Botanic Tonics

Is Kratom Legal? Current Status and Laws | Botanic Tonics

Reviewed by Jamal Bouie

Is Kratom Legal? Current Status and Laws

If you’ve had kratom in the past or you’re thinking about consuming kratom for the first time, you might be wondering how kratom is classified and what its legal status is in the US. Kratom is completely legal in the US and is not controlled under the Controlled Substance Act. While it is widely available across the country, there are a few states and cities that have banned the sale and distribution of the herbal substance. 

While the WHO concluded that there is insufficient evidence of adverse effects that would warrant any additional critical review,[1] it is important to stay up to date on the legality of kratom as local jurisdictions can change city and state laws at any time. 

What is Kratom?

Kratom is a tropical tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia, which for centuries, has been used by grounding the leaves and brewing it with tea or placing it into gel capsules. Traditionally, this herbal substance has been used to increase alertness and energy while working or during social gatherings and ceremonies. Kratom is a complex plant that contains at least 40 different alkaloids that work together as a ‘complex symphony orchestra,’ giving this herbal supplement its unique effects.

There is still plenty of research to conduct in order to learn more about the health and safety impacts of kratom use and its potential therapeutic uses, but there are many reports of people using kratom products to improve focus, energy, and enhance their mood.[1] Kratom’s stimulant-like effects have been known to increase energy and alertness while simultaneously creating a sense of relaxation. 

If you are considering using kratom, it’s important to remember that the effects can vary based on the amount taken and the way it’s ingested, so always be aware of the kratom serving size and the type of strain you are consuming. It is also important to be aware of the potential risk of drug interactions, so if you do take any other medications, it’s always best to consult your healthcare provider before adding another substance into your routine. Learn more about our thoughts on the best way to take kratom.

Global Legal Status of Kratom

In 2021, the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence conducted an in-depth review of kratom’s health effects and did not conclude that it needed to be included in the United Nations of internationally controlled substances, however, kratom does remain on the list of substances under surveillance by the WHO ECDD.[1] With that being said, kratom is illegal in many countries, most notably Australia, New Zealand, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Russia, Japan, Singapore, South Korea, and Vietnam.[2]

Kratom Legal Status in the United States

The US has left all legal decisions surrounding kratom use in the hands of the state and city legislature. While the majority of the states have decided that the sale, distribution, and use of kratom is legal within their borders, there are a few states and cities that have outlawed kratom altogether. 

The states where kratom is currently illegal are:[2]

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Wisconsin

There are also a number of states that have specific restrictions, including:

KCPA Passed: To date, Kratom Consumer Protection Act has been passed in 13 states to require regulation of the health and safety of products with kratom. These states include:[3]
  • Arizona
  • Georgia
  • Florida
  • Colorado
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
City and County Bans:
  • California: 4 cities have bans, including Jurupa Valley, Oceanside, San Diego and Newport Beach
  • Colorado: Parker town, Monument town and Greenwood Village
  • Florida: Sarasota County
  • Illinois: Jerseyville County, Edwardsville city, Central City Village, Glen Carbon Village, Orland Park Village, Alton City, Bartonville and Granite City
  • Mississippi: 
      • City-wide bans: Batesville, Belmount, Blue Mountain, Booneville, Caledonia, Calhoun, Columbus, Corinth, Derma, Fulton, Guntown, Iuka, Mantachie, Marietta, New Albany, Okolona, Oxford, Pontotoc, Ripley, Saltillo, Senatobia, Tishomingo, Vardaman.
      • County-wide bans: Alcorn, Calhoun, Itawamba, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Prentiss, Rankin, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union.
      • Louisiana: 4 parishes have bans, including Rapides, La Salle, Concordia and Ascension.
      • New Hampshire: Franklin City
      • Texas: Angleton City, Baytown City, Manvel City
      • Oregon: Hines City
        Age Restrictions: Many states have imposed age limits for kratom use, including all the KCPA states and some states that passed limited laws to protect consumers. These include:
        • States with 18+ age requirements: Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Utah, Nevada, North Carolina, and Minnesota. 
        • States with 21+ age requirements: Oregon, Colorado, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland, and Tennessee. Some local authorities, including Castle Rock, CO, and North Attleboro, NH, have age limits set up

          Legal Concerns and Regulations

          While kratom is not classified as an opioid, it is often compared to one because its compounds, like those of many other substances, interact with the opioid receptor system.[4] When it comes to the opioid receptor system, there are numerous compounds that interact with and activate this system that are commonly consumed, such as many dairy products and compounds ingested from barley and gluten.[4] Additionally, sugar triggers the production and release of endogenous opioid compounds.[4] Despite the inaccuracy of comparing kratom to other synthetic opioids, this frequent miscomparison along with the need for more research surrounding the health effects of long term use has caused legislators to have had a hard time seeing eye to eye on this herbal supplement for years now.

          It is important to remember that kratom is not approved as a drug and is sold in the US as either a dietary supplement or food. In 2018, there was an attempt to schedule kratom as a controlled substance, but it was stopped by Congress. All of this to say, despite certain health concerns and drug comparisons that have been discussed, kratom is safe for consumption and has even been advocated for by healthcare professionals for medicinal use. With that being said, kratom products are not deemed effective for any medical condition at this time and are, therefore not approved for medical use.[1] Research is constantly underway to continue to explore possible therapeutic benefits and uses of kratom.

          How to Check if Kratom is Legal in Your Area

          Because the laws are constantly in flux, it’s important to always stay up to date on the legal status of kratom in your area or any areas you might be traveling to! Try a quick Google search for “is kratom legal in my area” and you should be able to find the answers you need.

          You can always keep a close eye on the many advocacy groups that are working to support the legal status of kratom as well. The Global Kratom Coalition, The American Kratom Association, and Protect Kratom are all great resources.

          Implications of Kratom's Legal Status

          For kratom consumers, the legal status affects where you can purchase kratom products, where you can hold kratom in your possession, and where you can use kratom. As certain states and cities change policies regarding purchasing, possession, and use, kratom availability in your local stores can change along with shipping options if you’re buying online. Remember that if you are traveling with any kratom products, it is also important to understand the legal standings at your destination both to be aware of potential purchasing differences and to make sure you aren’t illegally holding kratom in your possession.

          For convenience stores, smoke shops, and grocery stores that sell kratom products, legislation changes can dramatically impact business as well. To ensure you are always legally compliant, it is important to stay up to date on selling laws, marketing regulations, and distribution changes. If you are a business selling kratom products, be sure to consult with your distributors or suppliers to better understand the laws in your area. 

          Botanic Tonics' Stance on Kratom

          At Botanic Tonics, we are conscious of the complexity of this ingredient, but we also recognize the centuries of traditional use and the benefits that consumers have experienced. In crafting our feel free kava kratom tonic we focus on traditional preparation and use only leaf kratom. All of our products also go through rigorous testing and our team stays constantly educated on the ever-changing legal status of kratom production and distribution to ensure we deliver a quality product every time. 


          1. National Institute on Drug Abuse: Kratom 
          2. Ocean Recovery: Kratom Legality: Where Kratom Is Legality & Side Effects of Use 
          3. Federal Kratom Consumer Protection Act,and%20stimulant%2Dlike%20effects). 
          4. Global Kratom Coalition 

          About The Author

          Jamal Bouie Botanic Tonic

          Jamal Bouie

          Jamal Bouie is an accomplished professional with a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemistry from Lemoyne-Owen College in Memphis. Currently, he is pursuing his PhD in Biomedicine at Salus University. Jamal has worked in several industries; he began his career in pharmaceutical manufacturing and transitioned to the cannabis industry, where he specialized in analytical testing and manufacturing, playing a vital role in ensuring product safety and compliance. Now, Jamal has turned his attention to the dietary supplement field, combining his scientific acumen with his passion for health and wellness.

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