Help the Drug Policy Alliance Stop the DEA’s War on Kratom


The Drug Policy Alliance has provided support for successful marijuana law reforms around the world while also leading the fight against the global Drug War. I got to witness firsthand the great work of DPA in Oregon as they were the leading funders of the Measure 91 legalization effort in 2014, while also providing excellent assistance and advice. Currently, DPA is working to prevent an exacerbation of the Drug War, fighting the Drug Enforcement Administration’s plan to place kratom on the list of Schedule I controlled substances, along with heroin, LSD, ecstasy, methaqualone, peyote, and, of course, cannabis.

Kratom is indigenous to Thailand, where it has been used in traditional medicine. While kratom is illegal in Thailand, eradication efforts have proven unsuccessful as use is widespread and there is a movement to decriminalize or legalize its use.

More than 100,000 people have signed a petition to the White House already and DPA is urging folks to contact their senators. In an email to supporters, DPA stated:

The DEA recently placed kratom, a medicinal plant used for millennia in Southeast Asia, on the list of Schedule I drugs, effective September 30.

Without a serious scientific investigation the DEA irresponsibly intends to subject anyone caught with kratom to long prison sentences, while effectively halting scientific investigation into kratom’s medicinal benefits and making it impossible to enact sensible legal regulations for kratom.

Many people struggling with opioid addiction have turned to kratom as a safer alternative, but now all promising scientific studies on kratom’s role in opioid treatment could be immediately shut down. Science be damned.

DPA’s proposed letter to senators reads:

On August 31st the DEA irresponsibly placed the active compounds in kratom, Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine, into Schedule I, effective September 30.

Kratom is a tropical plant in the coffee family from Southeast Asia that has been used to help those suffering from opioid withdrawal for centuries.

Without a serious scientific investigation the DEA intends to subject anyone caught with kratom to long prison terms and mandatory sentencing. This DEA action threatens to halt all scientific investigations into kratom’s medicinal benefits in part because it will become illegal to import the kratom needed for research purposes.

With America currently suffering from an overdose epidemic linked to opioids, the DEA is criminalizing a plant many people use to help with opioid withdrawal. If the DEA gets its way, more people who struggle with addiction could be criminalized, which is exactly the opposite direction we should be going.

As your constituent I ask that you please act immediately to halt the DEA’s irresponsible action to place kratom on the list of Schedule I drugs.

The War on Drugs simply hasn’t worked, whether it be a war on cannabis, ecstasy or alcohol. A war on kratom will only lead to more suffering, ruined lives and resources wasted. Please help DPA stop the DEA from waging another harmful war on nonviolent people.

Anthony Johnson
About Anthony Johnson 153 Articles
Anthony Johnson is the director of New Approach Oregon, the Political Action Committee responsible for Oregon's Measure 91 cannabis legalization campaign and co-owner of Duff Johnson Consulting. As Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Anthony served on the state's initial Marijuana Advisory Committee and he continues to advocate for sensible policies that decrease unnecessary arrests, protect patients' safe access, and help small businesses. With Duff Johnson Consulting, Anthony helps cannabis farmers, processors, retailers, and ancillary businesses with licensing, compliance, public relations, and marketing. DJC clients include the International Cannabis Business Conference, the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, Cannabliss, Natural Roots, and numerous medical cannabis cultivators that provide free cannabis to patients in need.Anthony co-hosts the Let's Hash It Out podcast, available here on Weed News, at, Sound Cloud, iTunes, and Stitcher. Anthony's blogs on Weed News are personal and don't necessarily reflect the views of any organization or company.