Florida, also known as the Sunshine State, is the fourth largest state by population with slightly over 21 million people. It’s the southernmost state of the US and home to Disney World, the most popular tourist destination in Florida. It’s also where you can find Key West, the southernmost point of the US, and St. Augustine, the oldest continuously inhabited city in the United States.
Jacksonville is the largest city in the US by land area. Other noteworthy cities include Miami, Orlando, Tampa, and St. Petersburg.
Florida has some interesting laws such as needing a license to skateboard. Florida also makes it illegal to sell oranges on a sidewalk in Miami Beach. Falling asleep under a hairdryer in a hair salon and singing while only clad in a swimsuit is also banned.
Do any of these absurd Florida laws apply to the kratom plant? Or is Mitragyna speciosa legal in the Sunshine State? Let’s find out.
Is Kratom Legal in Florida?
Kratom is legal in Florida except for Sarasota County. It chose to ban kratom in 2014 labeling it as a designer drug. Anti-kratom activists and legislators proposed other bills. However, they either didn’t pass or didn’t make it through committee. Efforts to regulate kratom have also failed.
The kratom ban in Sarasota County came into effect after the authorities passed a bill on designer drugs. As a result, the possession of kratom can result in 60 days in jail or a fine of up to $500.
The DEA classifies designer drugs as illegally synthesized drugs that are designed to mimic the effects and the chemical composition of scheduled substances. Drugs like Flakka, bath salts (synthetic cathinones), and spice (synthetic cannabinoids) fall into the category of designer drugs.
The bill states that kratom has hallucinogenic effects. It also uses the fact that kratom is illegal in Malaysia and Myanmar and was illegal in Thailand as an argument against it. While Mitragyna speciosa used to be outlawed in Thailand at the time the bill was filed, the Southeast Asian country has decriminalized it.
Similarly to the legal situation of kratom in San Jose, California, this is also a misrepresentation of kratom. That even describes kratom as a herbal drug, when, according to the definition, designer drugs are synthetic substances.
Kratom and Ian Mautner
Apart from this bill, there were two bills to ban kratom in Broward County in 2016. However, none of them suceeded. The main activist behind these two bills was a mother. She claimed that her son, Ian Mautner, had committed suicide due to his addiction to kratom.
Ian Mautner was a 20-year-old man who had taken kratom at a local kava bar since he was 17 years old. He drove to an overpass bridge, parked his car, and jumped off of the bridge. The police later discovered several packs of kratom both opened and unopened ones in his car. His mother blamed his death on kratom.
This story even made it into A Leaf of Faith, a popular documentary on kratom. Autopsy data revealed that there were prescription anti-depressants in Ian’s blood in addition to kratom. Ian had been taking Citalopram. It is an anti-depressant that can cause suicidal thoughts in some people. He had also been taking Trazodone, another anti-depressant. Trazodone is not generally recommended in combination with Citalopram.
Kratom advocates indicate this as a misrepresentation of kratom. That’s because anti-depressants have a long list of negative side effects which Ian’s mother likely attributed to kratom.
There are also sources online stating that, prior to his suicide, his mother had kicked him out due to his sexual orientation. This eventually resulted in him becoming homeless. If this is true, then Ian’s mother was using kratom as a scapegoat for his death.
There were additional two bills (this and this) filed in 2017. They intended to list kratom among scheduled drugs. However, the authorities indefinitely postponed or withdrew from consideration both of them.
Kratom Legality in St. Johns County, FL
In April 2019, there was interest in St. Johns County to ban kratom. However, after 19 speakers defended the beneficial properties of kratom, the Commissioners unanimously agreed to postpone any legislation regarding it. So, kratom is still legal in St. Johns County in Florida.
Efforts to Regulate Kratom in Florida
In March 2021, Democrat senator Bobby Powell introduced a bill to regulate kratom under the Florida Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA). The aim of this bill was to make kratom in Florida legal and regulated. Below are some of the points that the bill included:
- Register with the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services in order to be able to sell kratom products at retail,
- Not sell any kratom products to individuals who have not reached the age of 21,
- Not offer for sale any products that contain synthetic alkaloids or other synthetic kratom derivatives,
- Ban products that contain harmful, poisonous, or scheduled substances that may alter kratom properties and endanger the buyer,
- Only sell kratom that has 7-hydroxymitrgynine content lower than 2%,
- Sell kratom products that carry labels with dose instructions,
- Pay a penalty of up to $500 for their first offense and up to $1000 for the second or any subsequent offenses.
There was an additional bill filed by the sponsor. It suggested that Florida kratom vendors pay an annual registration fee worth $500 to the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services.
Unfortunately, both bills died in April 2021. Kratom remains legal in the state of Florida except for Sarasota County.
Efforts to Enact the Florida KCPA in 2022
The senator said that such regulations would make access to kratom safer for those living in Florida. Since safety questions arise when contaminated kratom is sold, he believes it would be best for buyers.
The new regulations would also help the state to crack down on merchants following unethical practices and selling contaminated kratom. According to Gruters, eliminating bad actors would prevent them from turning the plant into something that it is not.
The senator is not certain of the future of kratom in Sarasota County if the KCPA passes. However, he thinks that it would supersede and reverse the ban.
University of Florida College of Pharmacy Kratom Research
Despite various kratom bills and incidents, Florida is also where kratom is currently studied. The University of Florida College of Pharmacy is where Christopher McCurdy works. He is a broadly trained medicinal chemist who pioneered kratom research in the United States.
NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) awarded Christopher McCurdy and his team two grants worth $6.9 million to research kratom alkaloids. These grants give the team 7 total years to study the herb.
The team has already come up with some positive results indicating that the beneficial qualities of kratom may aid those battling opioid addiction. As a result, this research is shedding more light on the beneficial profile of kratom.
Where to Buy Kratom in Florida?
With the exception of Sarasota County, kratom is legal. People can buy kratom in various places across Florida. These include smoke and vape shops.
As always, we recommend that you buy kratom online from trustworthy vendors who lab test their kratom. Online stores are a logical choice if you want fresh and high-quality kratom for reasonable prices.
For more information on kratom legality in the United States as well as the latest kratom legality map, view this post on our blog.