Castle Rock bans underage sales of kratom, the controversial herbal extract

Castle Rock bans underage sales of kratom, the controversial herbal extract

Castle Rock this week banned the sale of the herbal supplement kratom, which has been at the center of controversy over its purported health effects, to anyone under the age of 18. Mary Esch, …

Mary Esch, Associated Press file

Kratom, an herbal extract from southeast Asia, has fierce defenders who tout its medicinal benefits. Meanwhile, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is considering whether to ban it.

Castle Rock this week banned the sale of the herbal supplement kratom, which has been at the center of controversy over its purported health effects, to anyone under the age of 18.

The town council on Tuesday approved an ordinance that imposes a fine of $300 on anyone caught selling the substance to minors.

The ban comes after Castle Rock late last year imposed a six-month moratorium on the licensing of any new kratom shops while new rules were established. Kratom, which is derived from the leaves of a tree that grows in southeast Asia, often is used in the form of an extract or a pill. It’s seen by many as a safe, natural alternative to addictive and sometimes lethal opioid painkillers.

But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has advised against the use of kratom, saying the substance has “properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence.”

Other metro area communities are looking to take similar steps to restrict sales of kratom.

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