In a tentative win for kratom legality in Tennessee, Christopher Miller had his case retired by the DA. The story had gained a good bit of publicity after reddit commenters urged users to write in to the stations who were falsely referring to kratom as an opiate and a synthetic. Kratom, of course, is a botanical from the coffee family that has been safely used for hundreds of years as a folk medicine in Southeast Asia. It recently faced a ban via DEA scheduling, but in a literally unprecedented back-down the Drug Enforcement Agency was forced to yield to public comment, bipartisan support in both houses, expert opinion of biochemists, ethnobotanists, pharmacologists and even a world renowned drug addiction specialist at Johns Hopkins University, the ban did not go through. The first time the DEA has done such in their history.
This is not the first kratom case thrown out in Tennessee. Sarah Carpenter of Knoxville and David Bean in Nashville were represented by lawyer Robert Vaughn. In these two prior cases, as with that of Christopher Miller, the cases were thrown out (one nullified, one dismissed and Christopher Miller’s case retired). The Tennessee law that is believed to apply to kratom is actually a synthetics bill according to the title and the language in the body of the bill. This “gray area” does not specifically mean that kratom is legal in Tennessee yet, but it appears to be “de facto” legal or at least in a firm gray area. Legislators have been reached out to in regards to the kratom bill in Tennessee but the new legislative season won’t open until January 2018 so there’s still time to reach out to legislators.
As reported in the Inquisitr:
“I don’t believe kratom is illegal in the state of Tennessee,” Christopher Miller told us in conversation online.
” I plan to challenge the legality of the plant in the state of Tennessee.”
I had contacted the State Attorney General’s office 2 years ago to ask about the “kratom bill” and to point out how it references only the constituents of kratom and does so in a bill that is specifically and solely (in title and language) related to synthetics, cathinones and cannibanoids to be exact. I had asked governor Bill Haslam through email if this meant that I would be able to sell kratom as a raw herb. He said he would forward my concerns and questions and get back to me. Still no answer to date.
Initially the faulty information from the headlines was sourced from Narconon (not to be confused with NA, Narcotics Anonymous) a Scientology affiliated group that had a Tennessee rehab facility that was recently shut down due to a case of kidnapping. The issue of education and understanding seems to be at the root of the whole thing. Here’s hoping that the legislators who assumed (falsely) kratom was a synthetic poison along the lines of the now banned “zombie bath salts” will take the time to research the plant and it’s possible benefits and reconsider fully clarifying the law.
Featured Image by Seana K