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 128 Articles

Anthony Johnson, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, is the director of New Approach Oregon, working to effectively implement the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature, before regulatory bodies,and at city councils and county commissions across the state.

He was proud to work as Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon’s cannabis legalization effort and director of the Vote Yes on 91 PAC, the political action committees responsible for the state’s legalization campaign. He also advises cannabis entrepreneurs on how to comply with Oregon’s laws and helps organize the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. Anthony’s blogs on are personal in nature and don’t speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization. You can see his work here at as well as