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Kratom sales continue despite uncertain future

By Nicholas Porath
Oct. 6, 2016

Cache Valley smoke and vape stores expressed relief and concern after the kratom ban was temporarily lifted on Sept. 30. The decision to delay the ban was announced by the Drug Enforcement Administration only hours before it was set to be scheduled as a controlled substance. The only comment the DEA has made about the delay is to allow a “modified comment process.”

Logan’s Timberline Smoke Shop still has leftover stock from before the ban was announced.

Owner Bob Hanselman is glad the store is able to continue carrying kratom, and believes that the prosed ban was ridiculous.

“The things they alleged, the FDA alleged, aren't factual,” he said. “As long as it’s legal, we’ll continue to carry it.”

The Blue Sphynx in Providence is currently all sold out of kratom, but will be ordering a limited quantity to replace its stock.

General manager Fred Done is cautious about the ban coming back into effect. 

“The verbiage of what I read online was that they chose not to put the ban into effect that day, but they still could at any moment,” he said. “There’s still a possibility that it is going to be one of those things where all of the sudden it is banned.”

The store plans to restock some of its kratom, but plans to keep a limited quantity in case the actions of the DEA resume.

The proposed ban has caught the interests of several politicians in an effort to block the actions of the DEA. One notable figure is Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who asked for a public commenting period on the issue, and requested justification for the DEA’s unprecedented use of emergency scheduling authority to classify kratom as a Schedule I substance.  

"Congress granted emergency scheduling authority to the DEA based on the need for law enforcement interdiction of new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs that result in injuries and death,” a letter to the DEA from a bipartisan group of nine senators, including Hatch, pointed out. “The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented, so it is important to determine whether the circumstances here necessitate a jump to Schedule I."