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, Key West, the southernmost point of the US, as well as 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.
Do any of these absurd laws apply to Florida? Or is kratom in Florida legal? 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 did not pass or didn’t make it through committee. Efforts to regulate kratom in Florida 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 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. Substances such as Flakka, bath salts (synthetic cathinones), and spice (synthetic cannabinoids) fall into the category of designer drugs.
The bill states that kratom has hallucinogenic effects and uses the fact that kratom is illegal in Malaysia and Myanmar and was illegal in Thailand at the time as an argument against 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 passed. The main activist behind these two bills was a mother who 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. 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, an anti-depressant that can cause suicidal thoughts in some people, as well as Trazodone, another anti-depressant that is not generally recommended in combination with Citalopram.
Kratom advocates indicate this as a misrepresentation of kratom as 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, which 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 that intended to list kratom among scheduled substances, but 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 in Florida under the Florida Kratom Consumer Protection Act. 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, harmful, poisonous, or scheduled substances that may alter kratom properties and endanger the buyer,
- only sell kratom products that have 7-hydroxymitrgynine concentration lower than 2%,
- sell kratom products that carry labels with dose instructions,
- pay penalty of up to $500 for their first offense and up to $1000 for the second or any subsequent offenses in the case of incompliance.
An additional bill filed by the same 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 in Florida remains legal but no regulations apply.
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 and shedding more light on the beneficial profile of kratom.
Where to Buy Kratom in Florida?
With the exception of Sarasota County, 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.
For more information on kratom legality in the United States as well as the latest kratom legality map, view this post on our blog.