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Rhode Island House Passes KCPA

June 16, 2023

Rhode Island Welcome SignRhode Island has long been a solidly blue state when it comes to politics. However, with the Rhode Island House of Representatives passing the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) on Monday, they are now one step closer to turning from red to blue in a different way.

The American Kratom Association (AKA) created a map that shows the legal status of kratom in each state. The five states where kratom is currently banned appear in red, which includes:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Indiana
  • Rhode Island
  • Wisconsin

While green indicates that kratom is legal in the state, blue means that not only is kratom legal, but the state has passed the KCPA. The ultimate goal of the AKA—and of kratom advocates everywhere—is to turn this entire map blue.

Kratom State Legality Map

What’s in the KCPA?

We’ve discussed the KCPA previously, and Rhode Island’s version of this legislation closely matches others. The overall goal is to ensure the legality and availability of kratom in the state and to impose regulations to help keep it safe.

Rhode Island’s law contains the following rules and limitations:

  • Kratom products cannot be adulterated or contaminated with any dangerous non-kratom substance.
  • The 7-hydroxymitragynine level cannot exceed 1% of the overall alkaloid composition of the product.
  • No synthetic alkaloids are permitted.
  • All kratom products must provide adequate labeling directions, including a recommended serving size.
  • Individuals must be 21 years or older to purchase or use kratom.
  • Kratom processors and retailers must be registered with the state.
  • A Certificate of Analysis (COA) for all products is required from a certified independent third-party laboratory showing compliance with all safety requirements.
  • Adverse events related to a registered kratom product must be reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
  • Violations are subject to fines and/or revocation of the violator’s registration, prohibiting their further sale of any kratom products.

Why Was Kratom Banned in the First Place?

The original kratom ban in Rhode Island was enacted by the state’s Department of Health (DOH) in 2017. As reported by The Providence Journal, this was in response to an announcement by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2016 that kratom was soon to be classified as a Schedule I substance under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).

Despite the fact that this federal kratom ban never actually occurred, a handful of states like Rhode Island reacted—or, shall we say, overreacted—with a ban of their own. According to the AKA, this was done “at the behest of the FDA, who claimed at the time that a federal ban on kratom was imminent.”

Rep. Brian Patrick Kennedy agreed with this assessment, stating that the DOH “relied on misrepresentations” by the FDA in their decision to ban kratom at the state level. Even though the attempt to schedule kratom failed federally—due to significant public backlash and lack of scientific evidence supporting such a ban—the states that had prematurely instituted their own ban did not bother to reverse their decision.

Until now.

What’s Next for Kratom in Rhode Island?

The House bill sets an effective date of January 1, 2024. However, as those who didn’t sleep through high school Civics class know, it takes more than just passage in the House for a bill to become a law.

After a bill is passed in either the House or Senate, it is then transmitted to the other house for consideration. Then, if passed by that second house, the bill is sent to the Governor, who can either sign it into law, veto it, or allow it to become law without signature.

The Rhode Island Senate already had their own matching bill to legalize kratom under consideration. So they are familiar with the KCPA, and they hopefully will pass it as well. However, anti-kratom groups are actively trying to prevent this, which means kratom advocates in Rhode Island should let their voices be heard, too.

The AKA has set up a form to help kratom supporters contact Rhode Island Senators. They are asking for only Rhode Island residents to use this form, and for others to share it on their social media.

Check out AKA’s Facebook page for updates.

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