Kratom regulations advance in Missouri Legislature

JEFFERSON CITY — The Missouri Senate endorsed legislation Monday requiring more regulations for kratom products.

The measure, sponsored by Rep. Phil Christofanelli, R-St. Peters, in the House, and Sen.Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, in the Senate, will bar the sale of the product to anyone younger than 18, as well as require sellers to ensure that their products do not contain dangerous substances.

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Photo credit: Christian Gooden, ST. Louis Post-Dispatch

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The legislation was approved on a 30-2 vote, with Republican Sens. Paul Wieland of Imperial and Jeanie Riddle of Mokane dissenting.

Kratom is a plant grown in Southeast Asia that affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine. It is often used as a dietary supplement for pain relief and a natural alternative to treat opioid withdrawal, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and other health conditions.

Rehder praised the plant based product.

“I’ve been using it for a little over a year now. It really does help with my migraines. I’ve been incredibly impressed with it,” Rehder said. “A lot of folks are using it now to wean off addiction to opioids.”

Republican Sen. Bob Onder, a doctor from Lake Saint Louis, also supported the move.

“As best I can tell, this seems to be pretty benign stuff,” Onder said.

While there are stores that specialize in selling kratom — as powder, in capsules, taffies and extracts — it’s also available to buy online and at convenience stores that sell items that are supposed to be consumed in moderation.

In early 2019, three people died in the St. Louis region from too much “mitragynine,” a natural substance derived from the leaves of kratom, public health officials found. The findings enraged kratom enthusiasts and owners of stores that have been popping up.

In 2019, St. Charles County approved an ordinance requiring sellers to register online and refrain from selling adulterated or concentrated kratom.

The measure, which passed out of the House on a 137-11 vote, now goes back to the House for a final vote.

The legislation is House Bill 1667.

Source: ST. Louis Post-Dispatch


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