Bureaucrats Fighting Bureaucrats: How One Regulatory Watchdog Is Battling The DEA On Kratom

DEA kratom ban

Independent Regulatory Watchdog Group Calls Out DEA On Illogical, Heavy-Handed Kratom Ban

By now you’ve probably heard about the Drug Enforcement Administration declining to exercise a bit of logic and common sense and change the designation of marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug–meaning most dangerous, and of no medical value–to something more sensible. This, despite the mountains of evidence that have been accumulating over recent years with 25 states now legally selling it for medical use, and thousands of stories out there about how it helps with seizures, chronic pain, and even PTSD.

But even before the dust settled on what appears to be the DEA’s clinging to outmoded ways of thinking, a new drug classification controversy had slipped in under the radar: kratom.


Kratom is a plant native to southeast Asia that has been used therapeutically there for centuries to treat chronic pain, blood pressure issues, sedative effects, and is also useful in weaning addicts off of opioids.

Yet, fresh off what one assumes must be the bureaucratic high gotten by creaky old drug warriors of the DEA via killing hopes for saner marijuana regulation, the agency has announced plans to summarily and without public comment, put kratom on Schedule 1 along with heroin and LSD.

However one regulatory watchdog is fighting the bureaucrats of the DEA–by unleashing other bureaucrats on them.

The Center for Regulatory Effectiveness an independent think tank and regulatory watchdog organization recently penned an open letter to the DEA on agency’s plan ban kratom–and in a judo-like move they have cleverly used the agency’s own bureaucrat-ese against it.

The CRE has pointed out that because the DEA’s proposed policy shift is in conflict with policy of a number of agencies on kratom, by law the legality of it would fall to the Office of Management and Budget to settle the matter–as that is its mandate: adjudicate interagency regulatory conflict.

The letter from the CRE cites research conducted by the USDA, NIH, University of Massachusetts Medical School, and the University of Mississippi that contradicts the DEA’s supposed justification for the ban on kratom.

It remains to be seen just what real-world effects such a move might have on an agency so recalcitrant and retrograde. But what is especially troubling about the agency’s latest move on kratom is how it mirrors another aspect of what they did with marijuana.

Just as there are even now Big Pharma companies toiling to turn the active ingredients from the plant marijuana into marketable–and not incidentally, profitable–drugs, so too the active ingredients in kratom have been scooped up and patented for use in manufacturing sythetic opioids.

So the DEA appears at least to be thoroughly corrupted and doing the bidding of Big Pharma: protecting its potential profits by banning the plants its new drugs are made from. The fig leaf of kratom’s–and marijuana’s, for that matter–danger to society can’t hold up under these circumstances. Write to your senator or congressman today and tell them to force the DEA to call off the kratom ban.

Regulatory Watchdog Calls On DEA To Halt Kratom Ban, Calls On OMB Intervention

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