Although its acceptance is growing throughout most of the United States, kratom can still be a controversial topic. Kratom remains legal at the federal level, but several states and counties have enacted their own bans or restrictions. So, users need to understand local kratom laws before trying kratom for themselves.
For those in the Empire State, we ask: is kratom legal in New York?
Kratom remains completely legal in NY. In fact, the state has not successfully passed any restrictions whatsoever on the sale of kratom — though several bills have been introduced to do just that.
Let’s dive into the details of kratom laws in New York.
Current Legality of Kratom in New York
Kratom is legal throughout all of New York. None of New York’s cities, counties, or other divisions have implemented local bans, so New York residents are free to purchase and use kratom no matter where they may be in the state.
But the future of NY kratom legality wasn’t always so clear. The state has attempted to pass several pieces of kratom legislation, including age restrictions and an outright ban!
Past such bills have failed, but it’s a constant reminder of the need for kratom advocates to remain vigilant, active, and vocal about all that kratom has to offer.
2017: The Year of Attempted Kratom Restrictions
In 2017, New York introduced two pieces of potential legislation aimed at restricting access to kratom.
The less restrictive of the two, New York Assembly Bill 8787, would have imposed an age-based restriction on kratom’s sale and use, restricting kratom access to persons aged 18 or older. The same bill was presented to the New York Senate as Senate Bill 6924. Both bills died before passage.
More alarmingly, New York also considered outright banning kratom that same year. New York Assembly Bill 231 would have prohibited the sale and distribution of any and all kratom products in New York state, which would have been a significant blow to the future of American kratom.
As is so often the case with threatened kratom bans, the NY kratom ban was met with an outpouring of grassroots opposition, testimonials from passionate kratom users, and advocacy spearheaded by the American Kratom Association. Largely due to these efforts, the NY kratom ban failed, and kratom is legal in New York to this day.
Pending Kratom Legislation in New York
At the time of this writing, New York is considering another bill that would restrict the sale of kratom to minors.
Assembly Bill A294, if passed, would prohibit the sale of kratom to persons under 21 years of age and would, further, impose a fine of $500 or less to anyone who sells or otherwise provides kratom to minors.
This bill is still being considered and has a reasonable chance of becoming law. While it has met with resistance from kratom advocates, many in the community consider age-based restrictions appropriate; as such, it is unlikely that A294 will meet with the same resistance as past attempts at an outright ban.
Which States Have Banned Kratom?
New York residents can legally enjoy kratom anywhere in their home state. But in other areas of the United States, residents may not be so lucky, as several states have imposed local kratom bans.
Currently, the states that have outright banned kratom are as follows:
- Alabama classified kratom’s primary alkaloids, mitragynine, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, as Schedule I narcotics in May 2016. This likens kratom to substances like ecstasy and heroin, an unjust misclassification.
- Arkansas banned kratom in February of 2016. In 2017, state medical examiners incorrectly stated that kratom’s alkaloids are derived from opium. It is unlikely we’ll see the Arkansas kratom ban lifted soon.
- Indiana outlawed kratom in 2014 but incorrectly listed the botanical as a synthetic cannabinoid. The legislature later amended their language, classifying kratom as a hallucinogenic substance, another misclassification.
- Rhode Island banned kratom’s alkaloids in 2017. Due to public outcry in other states, Rhode Island’s ban occurred in secret, confusing both residents and law officials. The state will vote on a measure to reverse the ban on September 1st, 2021.
- Vermont banned kratom’s alkaloids in 2016, but they were improperly classified as “synthetic drugs.” In January of 2020, lawmakers filed a bill to decriminalize kratom products, but kratom’s future is still uncertain in the state.
- Wisconsin banned kratom’s alkaloids in 2014, incorrectly associating kratom with both synthetic cannabinoids and hallucinogenic drugs. In 2019, lawmakers held informational meetings with the American Kratom Association (AKA), a step in the right direction.
In addition, several states have imposed restrictions on kratom. Even more, some states’ counties have imposed their own local bans. These states include California, Illinois, and New Hampshire.
For the rest of the United States, kratom remains a safe, legal, and accessible option for users to buy kratom at their convenience and to take control of their health and wellness.