Kratom has been a game-changer for the millions of Americans who swear by its benefits. But the emergence of this Southeast Asian herbal substance in the U.S. has not come without controversy. But is kratom legal in the U.S.? That is a simple question with a complex answer!
Kratom is a federally legal substance in the United States. However, kratom is banned in various parts of the country, including six states. Certain U.S. cities, counties, towns, parishes, and villages have also made kratom illegal.
I told you things were complex! But don't worry. I am here to clear up all that confusion. Let this guide be your go-to for everything related to kratom law in the United States.
Is Kratom Legal?
The bottom line: kratom is legal at the federal level. The Controlled Substances Act does not schedule kratom or any compounds derived from the herb, such as mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine (7-HMG).
However, states are not obligated to follow federal law on kratom. Subsequently, six states have made the tree-derived substance illegal. Five others have regulated the kratom market in their respective states by passing the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Kratom is banned in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
Kratom is regulated in the following states: Arizona, Georgia, Oklahoma, Nevada, and Utah.
State-by-State Analysis of Kratom Law
This section provides a brief state-by-state kratom law breakdown. You can find all the crucial information about your state here.
For a more in-depth analysis of the kratom law in a state, click the link attached to the state name.
Alabama: Kratom is illegal. Alabama classified mitragynine and 7-HMG as Schedule I drugs in 2016.
Alaska: Kratom is legal and unregulated in Alaska. Previous plans to classify kratom alkaloids as Schedule 3A drugs came to nothing.
Arizona: Kratom is legal and regulated. Arizona’s governor signed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act into law in May 2019.
Arkansas: Kratom is illegal. Arkansas classifies mitragynine and 7-HMG as Schedule I drugs under its List of Controlled Substances.
California: Kratom is legal and unregulated at the state level. However, the substance is banned in Oceanside and the city of San Diego.
Colorado: Kratom is legal. Lawmakers have agreed to implement the Kratom Consumer Protection Act but are still working out the details.
Connecticut: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Connecticut has never passed any kratom-related legislation.
Delaware: Kratom is legal and unregulated. There are no active plans to regulate the substance in Delaware.
Florida: Kratom is legal and unregulated at the state level. However, kratom is banned in Sarasota County.
Georgia: Kratom is legal and regulated in Georgia via the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Hawaii: Kratom is legal and unregulated. All attempts to ban or regulate kratom have been unsuccessful.
Idaho: Kratom is legal and unregulated. An effort to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act in 2020 did not succeed.
Illinois: Kratom is legal at the state level. However, the jurisdictions of Alton, Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, and Jerseyville have banned kratom.
Indiana: Kratom is banned. Indiana classified mitragynine and 7-HMG as Schedule I controlled substances in 2014.
Iowa: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Previous efforts to ban kratom in Iowa did not succeed.
Kansas: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Lawmakers are debating whether to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Kentucky: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Kentucky has previously rejected plans to ban or regulate kratom.
Louisiana: Kratom is legal at the state level. However, the Louisiana parishes of Ascension, Franklin, and Rapides have banned kratom. If the federal government ever schedules kratom as a controlled substance, the Louisiana State Legislature has passed a law to do the same.
Maine: Kratom is legal and unregulated. There are no active kratom-related laws in Maine.
Maryland: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Maryland lawmakers have tried banning kratom in the past, but have no current plans to do so.
Massachusetts: Kratom is legal and unregulated. A previous effort to prohibit kratom in Massachusetts came to nothing.
Michigan: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Michigan unsuccessfully attempted to ban kratom in 2014 and 2019.
Minnesota: Kratom is legal in Minnesota for individuals aged 18 and over. Lawmakers explored banning kratom in 2018 before passing a minimum age requirement instead.
Mississippi: Kratom is legal and unregulated at the state level, but banned in multiple municipalities. Kratom is illegal in the following jurisdictions of Mississippi:
Counties: Alcorn, Calhoun, Itawamba, Lowndes, Monroe, Noxubee, Pearl River, Prentiss, Tippah, Tishomingo, Union
Towns: Belmont, Blue Mountain, Booneville, Bruce, Caledonia, Calhoun City, Columbus, Corinth, Derma, Fulton, Guntown, Iuka, Mantuchie, Marietta, New Albany, Okolona, Oxford, Pontotoc, Ripley, Saltillo, Senatobia, Tishomingo, Vardaman.
Missouri: Kratom is legal and unregulated. However, retailers in St Charles County must register with the county before they can sell kratom products.
Montana: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Montana has never tried banning or regulating the substance.
Nebraska: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Nebraska has never attempted to make kratom a controlled substance.
Nevada: Kratom is legal in the Battle Born State and regulated by the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
New Hampshire: Kratom is legal at the state level, but banned in Franklin City. Kratom remains unregulated in New Hampshire.
New Jersey: Kratom is legal and unregulated. All legislative attempts to ban kratom in New Jersey have failed.
New Mexico: Kratom is legal and unregulated. New Mexico has not tried to regulate or ban kratom.
New York: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Previous efforts to ban or set a minimum age requirement for buying kratom products in New York have been unsuccessful.
North Carolina: Kratom is legal and unregulated. North Carolina lawmakers have not tried to ban kratom since 2016.
North Dakota: Kratom is legal and unregulated. The North Dakota Legislative Assembly has never debated any kratom-related bills.
Ohio: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Ohio is not currently planning to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Oklahoma: Kratom is legal and regulated. Oklahoma passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act in 2021.
Oregon: Kratom is legal and mostly unregulated. Oregon’s governor vetoed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, but processors of products must register with the state’s Department of Revenue from July 2023.
Pennsylvania: Kratom is legal and unregulated at the state level. However, Radnor Township prohibits the sale of kratom products to individuals under 21 years of age.
Rhode Island: Mitragynine and 7-HMG are banned, hence kratom is illegal. There have been several efforts to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
South Carolina: Kratom is legal and unregulated. There is no pending legislation to ban or regulate kratom in South Carolina.
South Dakota: Kratom is legal and unregulated. You must be 21 or over to buy, possess, or consume kratom in South Dakota.
Tennessee: Kratom is legal in its “natural botanical form” for individuals aged 21 and over. Previous attempts to restrict or outlaw kratom have failed.
Texas: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Historical efforts to pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act have fallen short.
Utah: Kratom is legal and regulated. Utah passed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act in 2019.
Vermont: Kratom is illegal. Advocacy groups have so far been unsuccessful in getting Vermont’s kratom ban overturned.
Virginia: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Virginia is yet to consider passing the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.
Washington: Kratom is legal and unregulated. Washington is not currently debating any kratom-related legislation.
West Virginia: Kratom is legal and unregulated. The state is considering a bill to ban the substance and a bill to regulate the industry.
Wisconsin: Kratom is banned. Mitragynine and 7-HMG have been classified as Schedule I controlled substances in Wisconsin since 2014.
Wyoming: Kratom is legal and unregulated. There is no history of kratom-related legislation in Wyoming.
History of Federal Kratom Law
In the U.S., substances are legal until declared otherwise. Therefore, kratom was completely legal when it was introduced into the country in the 1990s. That it was relatively unknown and produced intriguing effects was irrelevant from a legal perspective.
Unsurprisingly, that all changed. As kratom use became more widespread, the authorities began taking an increasing interest in the substance.
FDA Import Alerts and Product Seizures
The federal government’s first significant action on kratom came from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2012. The agency issued an import alert, describing kratom as an unapproved drug subject to Detention Without Physical Examination.
There were further import alerts in 2014 and 2016, along with a flurry of product seizures. However, the kratom industry continued to grow during this period, with products popping up in various stores, both online and offline.
The brewing legal concern finally erupted in August 2016 when the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) temporarily reclassified mitragynine and 7-HMG as Schedule I controlled substances. This amounted to an effective ban on kratom in the U.S.
It doesn’t get any worse than that. The Schedule I category is for substances with the highest abuse potential and no accepted medical use.
The decision sparked outrage among the kratom community, even more than I imagine the DEA anticipated. Petitions were signed, and kratom users hammered the phones to voice their anger about the ban to local representatives. There was even a protest outside the White House.
Kratom users were listened to. In a bipartisan effort, more than 50 lawmakers signed letters to DEA officials, asking them not to proceed with the ban.
In October 2016, the DEA reversed its decision to make kratom a Schedule I drug, in a move experts described as unprecedented. The kratom community achieved something that wasn’t thought possible, in a raw display of pure people power!
2018 Salmonella Outbreak
Kratom was back under the microscope in 2018 following a nationwide salmonella outbreak. Unfortunately, the culprit was imported contaminated kratom.
According to the FDA, contaminated kratom products affected 41 states, causing 199 salmonella infections and 38 hospitalizations. I am relieved to say that nobody died.
Thankfully, the powers that be recognized the incident was caused by a bad batch, not kratom itself. But the incident provided fuel to the argument against the substance and led to increased calls for regulation.
Kratom Consumer Protection Act
Not all kratom-related legislation is about prohibition! The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) has emerged as a way of regulating the market and making the industry safer for everybody.
The American Kratom Association (AKA) wants regulated kratom, clean from contamination and adulterants. They also campaign for helpful labeling on products and to prevent youth use. These are honorable ambitions that will protect consumers and minimize kratom’s overall risks.
Features of the KCPA include:
Punishing retailers for selling dangerously adulterated or contaminated kratom
A minimum age requirement for purchasing kratom products (either 18 or 21)
Imposing product labeling requirements that provide directions for safe and effective use
Prohibiting synthetic kratom compounds, including synthetic mitragynine and 7-HMG
Ensuring 7-HMG levels do not exceed 2% of a kratom product’s alkaloid makeup
As noted in the state-by-state breakdown, several states have passed the KCPA, and many more have discussed doing so. But could such regulation happen at the federal level, and if so, how?
The Federal Clarity for Kratom Consumers Act
In December 2022, two senators introduced a groundbreaking bipartisan bill to bring some federal regulation to kratom. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) sponsored the Federal Clarity for Kratom Consumers Act (S. 5316).
This legislation was different and less thorough than the KCPAs we have seen in states. But it would have provided the building blocks for more kratom regulation at the federal level. Allow me to list the core principles of the Federal Clarity for Kratom Consumers Act:
Study kratom usage in the U.S. and identify its risks and potential benefits
Prevent stricter requirements on kratom products than those that apply under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act
Prevent kratom or kratom-containing products from being treated as adulterated dietary supplements
Unfortunately, S. 5316 was introduced toward the end of the last legislative session. But the bill gave us an idea of how federal legislators could begin regulating kratom. Time will tell if it returns in the current session. Or maybe pro-kratom lawmakers will introduce a federal KCPA bill.
Will Kratom Remain Legal at the Federal Level?
The DEA still has kratom in its sights, currently categorizing the substance as a Drug and Chemical of Concern. Thankfully, this sounds more worrying than it is. The classification does not impact kratom's legal status.
However, it shows the DEA does not consider kratom law a settled matter. The agency may have u-turned on plans to make Mitragyna speciosa a Schedule I drug, but that doesn't mean it now thinks kratom is fine.
Furthermore, the FDA has not approved kratom for medicinal use. But that is inevitable given the lack of research into the overall substance and its primary alkaloids. Even if the will is there, it will take years to conduct the required clinical trials.
That said, kratom does not necessarily need FDA approval to remain legal. Regulating the industry is a viable and more pragmatic option. As the KCPA demonstrates, sensible kratom regulations would address concerns and reduce the risks without endangering its legality.
I expect the federal government will ultimately have this debate. History indicates there are valid worries about unregulated kratom, many of which are shared by daily consumers and advocacy groups. Regulating kratom will help ensure it stays legal.
Where to Buy Kratom in the U.S.
Confirmed that kratom is legal in your area? Excellent! Now we can talk about where to buy products. Things are easier if you live in a regulated state, but anyone who resides in a legal area can access premium-grade kratom.
Various brick-and-mortar stores stock kratom products, but I recommend some more than others. I suggest narrowing your search by ruling out head shops, convenience stores, and gas stations.
You are better off shopping at places with kratom expertise. I am talking botanical and herbal shops, as well as dedicated kratom stores if you are lucky enough to have one near you.
However, there are downsides to purchasing kratom from brick-and-mortar shops - all of which can be solved by buying kratom online.
Convenience: Why go to the trouble of traveling to a store when you can buy kratom from the device you are reading this article on?
Selection: Physical kratom shops often have less variety and may not have the product you want. Indeed, you might not truly know what you need until you have seen the extensive collections offered by the best online kratom vendors.
Price: There is no getting around it - brick-and-mortar stores are almost always more expensive. Online businesses are less costly to operate, which means cheaper prices for you and more kratom for your money!
Wherever you shop for kratom, ensure your chosen product is third-party lab-tested. Any legitimate retailer will have no issue providing the necessary certificate of analysis before you buy.
That concludes our comprehensive guide to U.S. kratom law. If you made it this far, you should now have a thorough understanding of the legal situation in your area.
And finally, I hope our journey through kratom's U.S. history and the analysis of the current legal conundrums have enhanced your knowledge of this wonderful herb!