MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT/AP) — Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley Tuesday signed a bill that will make Kratom a Schedule I controlled substance.
Some say Kratom is just a plant, but others believe it’s dangerous. Law enforcement sought to make the over-the-counter substance illegal saying it is as dangerous as narcotics. Bill opponents argued the plant-derived supplement helps with pain relief and isn’t dangerous.
SB226 passed the legislature then headed to Bentley, who signed the bill into law Tuesday, his spokesperson Jennifer Ardis confirmed to CBS42. Ardis told CBS42’s Sherri Jackson that the law is now in effect, and Kratom is no longer for sale.
The plant-based product is marketed as an herbal supplement that can help ease minor muscle pain. Opponents of the Kratom bill suggested instead of banning Kratom, it should be properly labelled and only available to those age 19 and up.
Supporters of the bill are argued that there is on-going research concerning Kratom, and that scheduling it will not prohibit that.
As of 6:52 p.m., certain counties had already declared intention to start seizing what remained of the substance, according to a press release from Etowah County.
Sherriff Todd Entrekin stated that the Etowah County Drug Enforcement Unit was to begin operations against the drug immediately.
“Alabama legislators and the Governor are to be applauded for their quick response to the growing problem that is hurting citizens in our community,” Entrekin said in the press release. “Locally, Representative Mack Butler was instrumental in the passage of the legislation.”
DEU Commander Randall Johnson has stated that the arrests would not begin on Tuesday, the day Kratom was outlawed, but that the next day they would begin making arrests.
“This is fair warning to those who sell or possess this product. Get rid of it or go to jail,” Entrekin said. “Now that Kratom has been declared illegal, I intend to carry out my duties as Sheriff, uphold the law and do the best we can do to rid the County of this dangerous substance.”