In Florida, kratom is legal to possess and available at local head shops, vape shops, and even in cocktail bars, such as bars in West Palm Beach, Delray Beach, and South Beach.
However, similar to many other states in the US, there have been efforts to enact bills that make kratom illegal to possess in Florida. For example, SB 11 (in 2016) and HB 73 (in 2017). Fortunately for these shops in Florida, neither bills made it through committee.
Kratom is banned in only one county in Florida
Wayne Applebee works for Health and Human Services in Sarasota County, currently the only place to ban kratom in Florida (effective 2014).
“For us, there’s a big enough question into its reliability in how healthy it is for our residents that until the science was clear, we wanted the ordinance to be on the books,” said Applebee.
Florida Shop Owner: ‘Kratom only helps people’
Christopher Garrett, owner of The Kratom Place, in Tarpon Springs was interviewed by ABC Action News this week.
“I never thought I’d ever start a shop like this,” said Garrett, who was hit by a car last June while riding his bike. “Knocked me up on the hood of his car and I flew pretty horizontal in the air and I hit the ground directly on my left leg and my left arm.”
Garrett said he was sent home from surgery with enough painkillers to last three days.
But the pain didn’t stop.
“I was so desperate that I was seriously doing a mental pro/con list,” said Garrett. “I was building it in my mind if I should go out and try to score something like heroin just because I wanted the pain to stop. And then the rational part of my mind kicked in. I thought, ‘You’re smarter than this. You’re a former Air Force medic’ and that’s when I got on the internet and started doing some searching.”
Garrett said he found kratom, which he credits with giving him a “300% quality of life improvement.” However, he is worried about the constant bad news spreading on kratom. Many of which, scientists believe, are based on ‘bad science‘.
Florida Mother Seeks More Regulation on Labelling Requirements
Last year, a Florida mother filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a Tampa Bay gas station, claiming the station sold her son “defective capsules” of kratom, which led to his death.
Laura Lamon filed the wrongful death lawsuit against Sligh Petrol Mart operated by Anjiya C- Store Inc., on May 18 for selling her 27-year-old son Christopher Waldron kratom capsules.
According to local Attorneys, this lawsuit is one of the first of its kind. The lawsuit accuses the shop of failing to label its products with any reasonable warnings or instructions with the capsules, and the overall effects of kratom.
Waldron died on July 7, 2017 from what the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s Office autopsy report says was “intoxication by Mitragynine (kratom).”
Labelling Requirements: Next Step Towards Legalization
Cigarettes, marijuana, pain killers, even soda beverages all have safety and warning labelling requirement in the US, and in many other countries internationally. So why doesn’t kratom?
Lamon said “If it were properly labeled, then he would’ve had a chance, you know, to say OK I shouldn’t take this amount,”
In a 2017 survey done in California, the public was overwhelmingly in favor of warning labels on sugary drinks. Specifically, 78% of Californians said “Yes” to warning labels. Support varied by race and political affiliation, but a majority of people in all categories supported warning labels.
Today, the State of California requires manufacturers to add this warning label:
“Safety Warning: Drinking beverages with added sugar(s) contribute to obesity, diabetes, and tooth decay.”
Lamon, who is now advocating for more labelling requirements for kratom, told reporters with passion:
“Study, test it, please, get labels on it … I’ll keep saying that until it happens. I don’t want anybody else to lose a loved one.”