(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) — Yesterday, St. Joseph’s city council voted down a proposal to ban Kratom, keeping Kratom legal in the city.
Before the vote, several people came forward both in support and against the measure.
Votes to Keep Kratom
Those wanting to keep Kratom legal included current users, who say it has helped with pain management and treatment for opioid addiction.
George Apostol, an advocate for the American Kratom Society, said that the tea helped him to quit an opioid habit. He had to take opioids from a young age due to childhood arthritis, and then began using even more opioids after an accident.
“Banning kratom will lead to the travel to surrounding counties to obtain it. It will also create a very lucrative black market within our city,” Apostol said.
George’s mother, Corenia Apostol, also spoke to the council and said she believes that kratom did help her son.
“As a mother I have struggled daily as well as he did in many ways,” she said. “It’s all thanks to kratom that my son was able to receive the relief from pain.”
Votes to Ban Kratom
On the other hand, those for the ban included the director of Kolbe-Puckett Center for Healing, who said Kratom has no scientific benefits for those suffering from addiction.
Puckett’s son died from an opioid overdose three years ago, and he said he doesn’t want to see kids getting into opioid-like substances.
“I’m a firm believer that if anybody can get clean, do it however you can,” Puckett said. “I lost my son, I don’t want to see anybody else lose their child. I don’t want to see anybody lose a sibling. I don’t want to see anybody else lose a parent. What I do see is our youth in our community that are abusing something that is regularly available.”
Council member Bryan Myers voted against the ban, saying that being the first municipal community in the area to ban the substance would be a mistake.
“All we’re going to do if we ban this locally is create an artificial black market and shove people off into other counties or on the internet where they can still lawfully get it,” Myers said. “We’ve got much bigger things to worry about in the city of St. Joseph than a substance that is still very much up in the air whether or not it’s addictive.”
There was some agreement among council members to possibly ban the purchase and possession of Kratom by minors (those under the age of 21).
This issue will be voted on in St. Joseph’s city council meeting on June 17th.