Are you one of the 5 million kratom users or a family member supporting the freedom of choice? Regardless, you may be wondering how you can influence kratom regulations in your state. So what should you do (and not do) to keep kratom legal? In this article, we will discuss all the keys to kratom advocacy, from sharing testimonials to attending public hearings.
5 Things to Do to Help Keep Kratom Legal
1. Know all the facts about kratom
Kratom comes from the coffee family of plants; therefore, its effects are comparable to tea, coffee, and other caffeinated drinks (i.e. used as an energy booster). Dependency and withdrawal symptoms for kratom are also very similar to caffeine.
Unlike illicit substances like heroin or cocaine, which have high abuse potential, increasing kratom dosages doesn’t lead to stronger euphoric effects. This is why millions of people use kratom energy and relaxation, and why they want to keep the plant legal.
In the past few years, kratom has been a major target for government and pharmaceutical companies. From negative news articles to misleading data points, government agencies are making sure kratom adoption rates does not escalate. For instance, the FDA published a report with claims that have been debunked by scientists and other researchers. Yet they continue to bombard social media with negative stories.
Even worse, some U.S. states are attempting to completely ban the product currently used by over 5 million people in the U.S. alone. Fortunately, whenever states propose a ban, they must hold a public hearing to provide the community a chance to voice their opinions. Passionate members of the community can attend these hearings to share their opinions and testimonials about kratom.
2. Share your testimonials
The most popular social media channels for kratom advocacy are Twitter and Reddit due to the lack of restrictions on shared content. However, Instagram and Facebook are still good platforms to share content among your friends. Include as much detail as possible in your testimonials, because everything you share is valuable. What is your profession? How long have you been using kratom? What do you enjoy about kratom? How do you use kratom and in what dosages?
Sharing testimonials on social media is favorable for the community as it forces the FDA to spend more money in order to cover the positive sentiment.
As mentioned, Facebook and Instagram are more strict with kratom content due to their close affiliation with government and big pharma. On the other hand, Reddit and Twitter are good platforms to share testimonials as there are more active communities.
3. Attend American Kratom Association webinars
Every now and then, the American Kratom Association (AKA) hosts online webinars to provide legislative and community updates on kratom. For instance, in July 2019, the AKA held an online webinar in preparation for Ohio’s public hearing with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy regarding a potential ban on kratom.
Those in attendance received up-to-date and relevant information on kratom. During the webinar, AKA members also shared tips and general advice on how to make strong first impressions when meeting legislators.
At the end of each webinar, there are Q&A sessions for further clarification on kratom-related topics. Those who missed the live webinars can watch a recorded video that the AKA typically shares on Twitter.
These webinars are very useful for those intending to participate in public hearings. It is also a great source of information for those who wish to learn more about kratom.
In Canada, the Kratom Society (KS) has become a go-to source for information and is actively pushing for awareness and adoption.
4. Educate others
Due to continuous government suppression of positive kratom news, awareness of kratom has struggled to develop. In fact, many people across the U.S. and worldwide are still skeptical or have never heard of kratom.
As an active kratom advocate, one of your roles is to educate and inform others. That includes letting people know how you found out about this natural plant and what role it plays in your life.
You can also recommend informational websites like Kratom Society and Kratom Guides to your friends. Documentaries like Chris Bell’s “Leaf of Faith” or Ben Swann’s “Reality Check on Kratom” are also good sources of information.
But in the end, your friends will always associate kratom with you. So be well-informed, well-dressed, and well-mannered to everyone you come across.
One last point to remember when embarking upon this journey of advocacy: don’t force kratom onto others. Not everyone needs kratom, just like not everyone needs coffee or Advil. Besides, you don’t want to be “that guy” who talks about kratom for 2 hours at every dinner table.
5. Show support at public hearings
Educating your friends, neighbors and colleagues on the topic of kratom is important, especially if they are searching for natural alternatives for relaxation and energy. It can attract new kratom supporters and even save someone’s life from chronic pain (an important benefit for many users). However, the challenge for kratom right now is not user acquisition. Instead, it’s the fear of government regulation that is most threatening to the existence of kratom.
Several states have already attempted to ban kratom through legislation. Some have succeeded (i.e. Washington, Indiana, and Wisconsin) while others have failed due to strong support from kratom advocates (i.e. Kentucky, Kansas, and Georgia).
In the U.S., prior to legislative decisions, states must hold public hearings to discuss sides for and against kratom. At the end of each session, individuals are given up to 5 minutes to speak and share their testimony.
Although the total number of attendees plays a huge determining factor in hearing outcomes, so does the quality of the people who attend and provide testimonials.
3 Things to Avoid to Help Keep Kratom Legal
1. Avoid writing bad posts targeting the government
Government and regulatory bodies are frequently painting kratom in a bad light through negative press in efforts to ban the plant. Since kratom has saved the lives of so many people, it is tempting to retaliate with anger and frustration. But we must refrain from this type of behaviour.
These regulatory bodies often paint the average kratom user as an unproductive member of society. Often as drug addicts in psychological and physical distress. However, in reality, kratom users do not always fit this profile.
Many kratom users are highly productive individuals and use kratom as a source of energy. They are lawyers, bankers, writers, and even members of parliament. They are educated, well-informed, and polite. Therefore, when writing posts about kratom and related news stories, avoid using profanity, caps lock, and exclamation marks. Instead, stick to the facts, this makes the writer sound less emotional.
Some common facts about kratom:
- How many people currently use kratom: 5 million in the US
- How many kratom-related deaths occur per year: Very few, similar to the amount of deaths caused by coffee. Compare that to over 480,000 cigarette related deaths, 180,000 sugary-drinksrelated deaths, 37,000 motor vehicle accidents and 10,000 impaired driving deaths.
- How much money do big pharmaceuticals companies provide to the FDA: 75% of FDA’s budget (of $5.4 billion) is funded by pharmaceutical companies every year to make sure they say bad things about natural drugs like kratom.
2. Don’t being impolite during public hearing
Similar to sounding polite with your social media postings, you must also be courteous when meeting and speaking with government representatives in person. Some general tips:
Dress for the occasion
It is good practice to dress neatly for public hearings. For example, fitted shirts, cardigans, or tailored pants. You’d much rather be overdressed than seen as messy. Remove any extreme piercings and cover visible tattoos with long sleeves or buttoned up blouses.
Give a firm handshake
Handshakes symbolize professionalism, and exudes confidence. You should never squeeze someone’s hands too tightly, but don’t offer someone a limp hand either as this signifies weakness. If you are sitting, rise before extending your hand to show respect.
Make eye contact
People will think you are nervous or rude when you avoid eye contact. Therefore, to make a good first impression, maintain eye contact when entering the public hearing. The same holds true when you are shaking hands to introduce yourself or say goodbye.
Facial expression is important when it comes to making a good impression. A warm and confident smile will put you and the other person at ease. But don’t go overboard with this – this will may you seem insincere. Instead go for an “I would love to chat with you” look. You will come across as warm and outgoing.
There is no point introducing yourself if you are mumbling or speaking in an otherwise unclear manner. The last thing you want is to be easily forgettable. By speaking in a confident way, and supporting your thoughts with facts, you can ensure what you say is impactful. Try standing up straight while speaking, you will automatically feel more confident. Also, try widening your mouth and slowing down your speech.
Wait before you sit down
After you have shaken hands and introduced yourself do not sit down immediately. There may be more people to meet and share your story with. It is polite to wait until invited to sit. One of the hosts may say “please sit down” or “take a seat”. Waiting for others, especially government representatives, to sit down first is a sign of respect and leaves a good impression. At the very least, you won’t appear rude and hasty.
3. Don’t give up
Keep supporting the kratom community. Even if it’s your family members or friends who are using kratom. Whether on Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, or at public hearings, don’t stop supporting kratom.
As more kratom advocates talk about kratom, big pharma will have to invest more to block out the noise. That is, for every post you make, big pharma companies need to post twice to cover up your story. The caveat: your posts are free and costs nothing for you. However, pharmaceutical companies invest thousands of dollars just to get one post approved and published.
Are you uncomfortable writing on social media? You can continue to support the community by giving other writers a “comment” or “thumbs up”. By doing this, it tells big pharmaceutical companies that other people are reading these posts. It also motivates users to continue writing and advocating for the legalization of kratom. Overtime, the pharmaceutical companies will realize they are fighting a never-ending battle that is costing them a fortune. And maybe, just maybe, kratom will end up becoming legalized in the U.S.
Originally posted on Red Storm Scientific.