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  • ShereeKrider 9:54 am on September 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , protesters, White House   

    Kratom Advocates Sip Tea and Seethe at White House Rally Against DEA Ban 


    One user plans to move to Canada. Another plans to quit. Many more don’t know what to do.

    By Steven Nelson | Staff Writer Sept. 13, 2016, at 6:20 p.m.

    Several protest attendees brought their own bottle of kratom tea Tuesday to the White House. Those who did not were offered a Solo cup.

    Several protest attendees brought their own bottle of kratom tea Tuesday to the White House. Those who did not were offered a Solo cup. Steven Nelson for USN&WR

    Hundreds of passionate protesters gathered Tuesday near the White House to demand that the popular plant product kratom remain legal. It was jointly a business industry conference, a tea party and a desperate consumer lobbying effort — but the clear-eyed crowd appears to have little chance of near-term victory.

    A comprehensive U.S. ban likely will take effect on Sept. 30, just a month after the Drug Enforcement Administration surprised users by saying it would invoke emergency powers to make leaves from the tree grown in Southeast Asia illegal by labeling two main constituents Schedule I substances.

    In the face of long odds and silence from Capitol Hill, the event called by the American Kratom Association sought to pressure officials to reconsider while laying the groundwork for what may become a protracted re-legalization campaign.

    A large jug of brewed kratom sat in the middle of Pennsylvania Avenue, with red Solo cups offered to anyone who wanted some. At least one reporter sipped the brew, which tasted like astringent green tea. Another journalist took a pill offered as a free sample by a businessman.

    Kratom users who attended the rally said it’s wrong for them to lose legal access to what they say is an effective treatment for pain, addiction, depression and other conditions.

    Though many said they were angry, chant-leaders asked the crowd of a couple hundred to stay on message and favored reason over rage, which often is a leading emotion at White House protests staged by marijuana reform advocates who say decades in Schedule I has stalled medical cannabis research amid millions of arrests.

    “I’m usually very quiet but felt the need to come out and speak,” says Veronika Bamford-Conners, a kratom-selling store owner from Sullivan, Maine, where, she says, most of her customers are older than 55.

    “If they don’t have insurance and can’t afford medications, they find a cheaper alternative in kratom,” she says, though some seem to prefer relief from the leaf to painkillers, such as a 73-year-old man who she says called her weeping “because pharmaceuticals were killing him” before.

    Chants at the rally advertised the death toll from accidental overdoses of opioids – more than 28,000 in 2014 alone, including legal painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin – with the low or nonexistent U.S. toll from kratom.

    The DEA says it believes 15 deaths were caused by kratom, though American Kratom Association founder Susan Ash says the group hired a toxicologist who concluded each case could be attributed to other drugs.

    Many kratom users say the plant has helped them abstain from substances they formerly were addicted to, often heroin or prescription painkillers.

    “Kratom saved me, I was a bad heroin addict,” says David Allen, who traveled from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. “It keeps cravings away and helped me not drink. I came because I don’t want to lose my medicine.”

    Allen says that although the DEA – and even some former kratom users – say the drug can lead to dependence, it’s nothing like the grasp of opioids. He says he believe it’s about as abusable as coffee, which comes from a related plant, and that like coffee withdrawal, ending kratom can cause minor headaches.

    Brad Miller, a physics teacher at Spotsylvania High School in Virginia, says he drinks small amounts of kratom tea between three and five times a day to treat arthritis in his knees. He says the effects are “very mild” and “just enough to take the edge off so I can get through my day standing.”

    Miller says prescribed painkillers from his rheumatologist were too strong and that unlike opioids he hasn’t developed an addiction to kratom. He says he went on a weeklong camping trip and – unlike the experiences of some users – felt no withdrawal symptoms.

    “I didn’t have withdrawal symptoms, but I did have arthritis pain,” he says. “I’d be surprised if anyone has experienced strong withdrawal symptoms.”

    Though Miller and others at the event said they aren’t sure what they will do at the end of the month, Heather Hawkins says she’s made up her mind to move to Canada, where kratom remains legal.

    Hawkins, a journalist with northern Florida’s Pensacola News-Journal and owner of the Kratom Literacy Project, says she has an incurable bladder disease and is eyeing Vancouver after already moved to the Sunshine State from Alabama in reaction to a local kratom ban.

    Talk about moving abroad often is spouted unseriously by political partisans around election time, but Hawkins says she’s completely serious after living in a painkiller-induced haze that left her depressed and unable to get out of bed.

    “I’m not going to stay here [if the ban takes effect] because I’m not going back to that life,” she says.

    Hawkins says she’s in addiction recovery from cocaine, which she says she used as self-medication to give her the energy to power through her pain and despair, and that if she regarded kratom as a drug she would not take it.

    Though kratom is widely known for claims that it can help keep opioid addicts clean, it’s also credited with sapping desire for other substances.

    Jeremy Haley, owner of Colorado’s Rocky Mountain Kratom, says he began using kratom in 2012 after a drunk driving arrest, and that it has helped veer him away from his alcoholism, which runs in the family.

    Although the ban hasn’t yet taken effect, Haley says local officials have shut down his shop for what he views as dubious reasons, making him unable to sell the remaining inventory – the latest in what he says has been a constant regulatory headache that featured him asking Yelp reviewers to delete positive reviews to placate federal officials who wanted proof he was not marketing kratom for human consumption.

    Haley plans to open a totally legal apothecary shop if the ban takes effect.

    CONTINUE READING…


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  • ShereeKrider 11:16 pm on February 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Gil Kerlikowske, Legalizing Marijuana, Office of National Drug Control Policy, White House   

    Official White House Response to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol 


    Official White House Response to Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol. and 7 other petitions

    What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

    By Gil Kerlikowske

    When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

    According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health– the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment. We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms. Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

    Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine. To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

    As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem. We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

    That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities. Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

    Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

    Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.

    Resources:

    Gil Kerlikowske is Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy

     
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