AG Commissioner Simpson Says Kratom Should be Regulated and 'Not Sold to Children'

AG Commissioner Simpson Says Kratom Should be Regulated and 'Not Sold to Children'

Jackson Bakich
Jackson Bakich
February 21, 2024

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture Wilton Simpson (R-FL) provided his thoughts concerning kratom, the herbal substance growing in popularity around the country. The substance is used over the counter to combat withdrawal symptoms.

The drug is said to produce “opioid and stimulant-like effects” according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, however. It is more often consumed as a drink but can also be smoked.

Commissioner Simpson told The Floridian, “If kratom is available for consumers in Florida, it should be appropriately regulated for safety and it should not be sold to children.”

Opioids have been a major problem for the United States for decades. However, recent introductions of fentanyl through the southern border via drug cartels have killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Whether or not kratom is safe to use, there is a stigma around substances (especially those that produce "opioid and stimulant-like effects") and state lawmakers will certainly be cautious concerning the product.

In the state legislature, SB 842 – the Florida Kratom Consumer Protection Act – was introduced last session by Senator Joe Gruters (R-FL) and was passed on to Senator Keith Perry (R-FL) for the current session. This measure bans processors from preparing, selling, or distributing adulterated kratom and bans any labels claiming the product is intended to treat or cure medical conditions. The product will also require processors to include directions for the safe use of the product.

"We really need to make sure that nothing is getting cut with the Kratom product itself and that people are getting the pure unadulterated product that they're paying for," Sen. Gruters told The Floridian.

"People are cutting it at all different stages, putting different additives into it, and the consumer has the right to know exactly what they're buying," said Sen. Gruters.

Moreover, Sen. Perry told The Floridian about the very little research surrounding Kratom and its effects, explaining his plans to work with researchers at the University of Florida to study the health impacts of the substance.

"We want to make sure that this is Kratom that you're getting, it doesn't have other products in it, and it's tested to make sure of that," said Sen. Perry, explaining his bill. "And then if we find out [at some point] that it's a dangerous product, and it has effects that we haven't seen yet, then it may be appropriate to ban the product or regulate it much more than we are now,"

"If you buy Aspirin, it tells you what dosage to take," He continued, noting the lack of dosage instructions present on Kratom products. "So we want to have some kind of guidelines for people who may purchase this—some recommendations.”

HB 861 – introduced by State Rep. Alex Andrade – is the companion legislation in the State House.

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Jackson Bakich

Jackson Bakich

Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the sunshine state, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and the co-host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.

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