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Louisiana State Rep. Firment is attempting to add kratom to the state’s Schedule I narcotics law

SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana state legislature will decide whether to add two substances to Schedule I of the Controlled Hazardous Substances Act that are currently available for purchase at many stores licensed to sell tobacco products.

The pre-filed bill, HB14, was introduced by Louisiana State Representative Michael Firment, whose districts cover portions of the central and northern regions of the state. The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Kathy Edmonston, representing Ascension Parish.

Act 231 would make Mitragyna speciosa, or the herb known as kratom, a Schedule I narcotic if and when the United States Drug Enforcement Agency classifies it as a controlled and dangerous substance.

Fermints’ bill also calls for “abolishing the crime of unlawfully distributing products containing Mitragyna speciosa to minors.” Under applicable law, violations are punishable by a fine of up to $500, imprisonment for up to six months, or both.

HB14 would repeal the current law and add mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine to the Schedule I narcotics list, unless the herb is in a pharmaceutical product.

By adding kratom to the schedule, I would ban the sale of the drug to anyone unless prescribed as a medicine, so the law that specifically applies to the sale of kratom to minors would be repealed with the passage of HB14.

Those who use kratom claim that the herb provides an energy boost, improves mood, relieves pain, and can be an antidote to opioid withdrawal. Still, medical experts say the drug is unsafe and ineffective.

A DEA drug journal shows that higher doses of kratom could lead to psychotic episodes and psychological and physiological dependence in users.

The 2023 session of the Louisiana Legislature begins Monday, April 10.