Denying Us Nature: Kratom and Our Freedoms Threatened
Imagine, if you will, a leaf with a strong, traditional use in a foreign country, regularly chewed by its native people for the duration of their lives, and considered a staple of their culture and daily living. Kratom, an indigenous plant from Indonesia has been shown to contain many medicinal properties. In fact, Kratom is so effective for some people that it has caught the eye of Big Pharma who cannot handle the competition. Because of this, states from Indiana and now my own home state of Florida are proposing bans on this plant. Despite countless examples of how many people Kratom is being debated for addition to the controlled substances list in Florida.
“As a libertarian, and a believer in freedom of choice, I will fight against this proposed Kratom ban with everything I’ve got”, says Scott Harris, “We should give our citizens the option to decide for themselves what treatments and substances they want to try.”
We, the people of Florida, are facing a proposed ban on Kratom. A government elected by us to serve us has proposed a statewide bill to ban a substance that most of us have never heard of. Scientific studies do not confirm this leaf will harm or kill us. Scientific studies confirm tobacco will. Yet here we are, facing a ban on a substance that has been poorly evaluated without any concrete evidence that it is anywhere near as harmful as substances you can buy at every corner store in America.
This is what we know about Kratom. Kratom is thought to have potential for pain management. It’s thought that Kratom has promise as a treatment for opioid addiction, like heroin and painkillers. In Thailand, people use Kratom to treat diarrhea. We’re talking about a plant from the same family as coffee. Is Kratom addictive? Quite possibly. Coffee is addictive, as most coffee drinkers know when they miss their morning cup. But even still, we do not dictate to your average person going to Starbucks that they have no right to put an extra espresso shot in their latte. Why should the people we elect have the right to dictate the same to us for a leaf, without scientific evidence to dictate that the leaf is any more dangerous to us or our society than cigarettes or alcohol, which the Florida government allows us to buy as is our right.
Our bodies and what we put in them is ours alone to govern, so long as our use of Kratom does not bring harm to others. We made that decision for alcohol and tobacco, and there’s no justification to tell us we can’t purchase, grow, or consume a leaf that did not have to ask permission to grow on this earth. It is our right to imbibe, inhale, and in this case, chew, what we will, if none but ourselves are harmed. Fear mongering and preventative bans are the territory of a fascist nanny government, one which we shook off in 1776 in favor of the rights we have today.
In Indiana, Kratom was the subject of intense scrutiny. They evaluated a pair of chemicals in the leaf and came to the conclusion that they should be controlled, but in the end, they did not make the leaf illegal. The reasoning was simple: this is not a synthetic product. This is a leaf, and it is not within the authority of mankind to say whether adults should have access to a plant or not. In Iowa they treat it like tobacco, requiring someone to be eighteen to purchase it. Yet here in Florida, the call is to ban it entirely.
Study it. If science says it’s harmful, regulate it for safe use. Until then, allow us the freedom we as Americans rightfully have from tyrannical laws like this. We must not allow the precedent to be set for government to deny us the bounty of nature.