Kratom supporters speak out on HB 364

Everyone is standing strong in their opinions, whether it is for the bill or against it.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 10:04 PM CST
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PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) - House Bill 364, which aims to get Kratom off Mississippi shelves, seems to be stirring up as many opposers as supporters.

People like Glenn Shipe, who has taken Kratom for many years to treat pain and depression, are letting their voices be heard.

“I wouldn’t be here right now [if it] wasn’t for kratom, I’ll tell you that,” said Shipe.

Recently, HB 364, proposed by State Rep. Donnie Scoggin, was sent to the Drug Policy Committee.

“We as Mississippians can bring this to a new light, make it illegal to [sale] or make it illegal to buy, and then get it off the shelves and hopefully protect our people,” said Scoggin.

However, organizations, such as the American Kratom Association, are doing their best to try and keep Kratom available for those who want to use it.

“We don’t ban products because we don’t like them or because the FDA doesn’t like them,” said Mac Haddow, senior fellow on public policy with the American Kratom Association. “We ban them based on science, and the science shows that Kratom in its natural form, without being adulterated, it’s safe when it’s responsibly used.”

People like Shipe said that Kratom was instrumental in treating their symptoms.

“I had been taking antidepressants, and my pain management doctor had me on Tramadol; it didn’t help,” Shipe said. “When I took Kratom, it just made me feel so much better.”

Haddow said those fighting for Kratom need to act sooner rather than later.

“The people of Mississippi should speak out to their legislature and protect the freedom that people have to responsibly use a product and not let an agency like the FDA from the federal level come in and tell the state of Mississippi what they should be doing,” Haddow said. “Unfortunately, that’s where we are right now.”

HB 364 is one of 14 bills facing the Drug Policy Committee since the new year.

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