Ohio lawmaker files bill to regulate kratom instead of ban it

Ohio lawmaker files bill to regulate kratom instead of ban it

Ohio lawmaker files bill to regulate kratom instead of ban it An Ohio Republican lawmaker has drafted legislation he hopes will stop the state’s planned ban on kratom. Check out this story on …

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The CDC says kratom, an herbal supplement, was a cause of deaths in 91 fatal overdoses in the United States from July 2016 to December 2017. USA TODAY

COLUMBUS, Ohio – An Ohio lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to regulate kratom in hopes it will stop state regulators from banning the herbal supplement.

Rep. Gary Scherer, R-Circleville, told The Enquirer he’s filing a bill to regulate the herbal supplement based on regulations passed in Utah.

Scherer said he doesn’t know enough about kratom (pronounced KRAY-tom) to support its use but that the legislature should weigh in on the topic.

“I don’t know if I’d vote for the bill or not myself,” Scherer said. 

The Ohio Board of Pharmacy has been working through the process to make kratom a Schedule I controlled substance since last September. The board plans to send the proposed change to the final stage in the process on Monday, after holding a public comment period Friday.

Scherer said he respects the pharmacy board but hopes the bill will convince them to halt the process. The board wouldn’t say Friday whether they will delay action because of the new bill.

“We are currently receiving testimony on the rule today and will be reviewing legislation to determine next steps,” board spokesman Cameron McNamee said.

Kratom comes from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree and is typically consumed as a tea or powder. It’s sold in specialty stores, head shops and gas stations, as well as online.

The main active compounds of the plant are Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine – that’s what the pharmacy board wants to classify as Schedule I drugs. The board claims the substances have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. The board was also concerned about how kratom, which has opioid-like effects, interacts with opioids.

Dozens of kratom consumers and advocates attended a public comment session here Friday to ask the pharmacy board to drop the proposed ban. Their pitch: Kratom has helped them where pharmaceuticals have not, kratom is not addictive and kratom has saved lives.

In low doses, kratom has a stimulating effect. It is taken in larger doses to relieve pain. Some say kratom has helped them kick an opioid addiction.

Scherer said his bill is modeled after Utah’s Kratom Consumer Protection Act. The Utah law bans “adulterated” kratom that’s been combined with other substances, limits the amount of the active compound that can be sold and requires testing and labeling of kratom products.

Kratom has been banned in six states, including neighboring Indiana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration dropped its plans to ban kratom after being flooded with public comments.

The Ohio pharmacy board received more than 7,000 public comments, nearly all opposing the ban, late last year.

More: Kratom: Ohio could soon ban plant-based supplement used to treat pain, opioid addiction

More: FDA cracks down on kratom sellers, says it’s not a cure for addiction

Read or Share this story: https://www.cincinnati.com/story/news/2019/08/09/ohio-bill-would-regulate-kratom-instead-of-ban-it/1955637001/

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