At the end of December 2021, leaders of Pearl River County, MS voted unanimously to ban the sale of kratom in the county.
The Pearl River County Board of Supervisors discussed this ordinance in several meetings throughout January 2022. For this ordinance to be ratified, both city governments, Picayune and Poplarville, will have to agree to it. Board Attorney Joe Montgomery has sent the proposal to the attorney of these two cities, but they have yet to agree to the ban. The police chiefs of both cities have already spoken to District 5 Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith and District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry in support of the ban. Sheriff David Allison and Narcotics investigator Joe Garcia of the Pearl County Sheriff’s department also spoke in favor of the ban.
Citizens of Pearl River County were also present at the board meetings, speaking against the ban. They have expressed their personal experiences with kratom and how beneficial kratom is to them.
Despite this, leaders are still concerned about the lack of regulation of kratom in the county, and that it may be affecting citizens in a negative way.
The board members invited Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy at the American Kratom Association, to discuss the science behind kratom and safe consumer access on January 19th 2022. The AKA stated in a Facebook post that the “discussion will be an informational presentation and will allow for a question and answer exchange with Board Members. It is possible the County will look at an ordinance that includes provisions of our model Kratom Consumer Protection Act.”
This is not the first time a Mississippi county has proposed a kratom ban. At least 28 counties and cities in the northeast region of the state have all acted to ban the possession and sale of kratom.
Is Kratom Legal in Mississippi?
Despite the efforts to ban kratom in several cities and counties, currently, kratom is still legal in Mississippi. In 2018, there was a Mississippi bill that wanted to ban 7-hydroxymitragynine and mitragynine, two of the main alkaloids in kratom, but the bill did not pass in the committee. In 2019, Mississippi tried to impose a statewide ban during a legislative session. This bill also did not pass. Because of these failed attempts to pass a ban statewide, officials started to take on kratom legality by city and county.
Kratom Consumer Protection Act in Mississippi
The AKA has been heavily active in Mississippi to reverse these bans. In recent kratom news, they even gained the support of Senator Jeff Tate in filing Mississippi’s Kratom Consumer Protection Act. Senator Tate previously was in support of kratom restriction, even filing a bill in 2020 to ban the plant. Now, Senator Tate has changed his views on kratom after listening to kratom advocates and reviewing the science of kratom. The new bill will regulate the preparation, distribution, and sale of kratom products so consumers have access to safe, unadulterated kratom. The bill will also authorize the Department of Health to enforce the KCPA throughout the state.
Although this bill is a success to kratom legality, there are two bills proposed in January 2022 that could stop these efforts. If passed, House Bill 681 and 663 would categorize kratom as a Schedule I controlled substance, which would make kratom illegal in Mississippi.
The AKA will be reaching out to kratom users for comments and testimonies to present to Mississippi legislation to overturn these proposed bans.