Ascension Parish Council votes to ban the sale of controversial product kratom
ASCENSION PARISH, La. (WAFB) - Ascension Parish will become the first parish in Louisiana to ban the sale of the controversial herbal supplement kratom.
The Ascension Parish Council unanimously voted to prohibit the sale of kratom during their meeting on Aug. 18.
Councilman Michael Mason says the original proposal included restrictions on possessions and use, but they decided to only focus on sales.
“Not a single person in Ascension Parish spoke in favor of Kratom,” Mason said.
According to the Department of Justice & Drug Enforcement Administration, kratom is an herbal substance that can be taken as a pill, powder or brewed as a tea.
Supporters of the product say its commonly used to treat pain or serve as an alternative to using opioids. However, opponents argue that its highly addictive and dangerous.
Mac Haddow from the American Kratom Association disputed that narrative.
“Kratom does not have the addiction liability, nor does it pose a health risk to the American people. There are more than 15 million Kratom consumers in America today, and when safely consumed, the non-adulterated product is a great alternative to people managing their health and well-being,” Haddow said.
Mason also chimed in.
“I noticed that people who were pro-kratom would show up to all the meetings and say the same thing. ‘In its purest form, it does a lot of great good’. Which, I’m sure it does. We’re not arguing that fact, but what we’re saying we have in Ascension Parish is obviously not its purest form,” Mason said.
Mason says the ordinance goes into effect on Aug. 28. Under the new rule, anyone that’s caught selling kratom could lose their business license. Also, repeat offenders could face a fine or possibly face jail time.
Mason says he supports a ban until the state or federal government decides to regulate it.
“We did put in that caveat that if further research becomes available and some regulation happens with Kratom that we can get the pure form and make sure that it’s not tainted with formaldehyde which are some of the things that were coming through and all this other stuff, then we would be glad to revisit this, but this is just something to protect our people right now,” Mason said. Until then, Haddow says the fight is not over.
“We’re hopefully going to get them to reconsider their ordinance so they can control the adulterated kratom products because we know the health benefits of natural Kratom, unadulterated is really beneficial to the population,” Haddow said. “They say that Ascension Parish is the thought leader of all policies that other parishes and that the state of Louisiana follows. If they truly believe that then they should’ve listened to the non-Ascension Parish residents that came and spoke.”
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