After reading this article, you will acquire knowledge on what you should do (and not do) to keep kratom legal in US and support millions of citizens who are fighting for the rights to purchase, sell, and consume kratom.
What you should do
Know all the facts about kratom
Kratom comes from the coffee family of plants, similar to coffee, tea, and other caffeinated drinks. As such, the most common usage of kratom is for a boost in energy. Dependency and withdraw symptoms of kratom are also comparable to caffeine.
However, unlike substances with high abuse potential, increasing the dosage of kratom doesn’t lead to exponentially stronger euphoric effects. This is why millions of people continue to use kratom and they want it to remain legal forever.
These days, kratom is under siege by government and big pharmaceutical companies through constant negative news articles and misleading data points. Over the last 12 months, the FDA published various reports with claims that have been debunked by scientists and other researchers. Yet they continue to bombard social media with negative stories.
Worse yet, some U.S. states are attempting to place an outright ban on the product that is used by over 5 million people in the U.S. alone. Some of these bans might affect you or your loved ones who depend on kratom for energy and overall well-being.
Luckily, every time a state proposes a ban, a public hearing must be held to provide the community a chance to respond to the proposal. As a well-informed member of the kratom community, you can share your opinions at these public hearings, to ensure your state remains on the right side of history.
Share your testimonials
Whether on Twitter, Reddit, Instagram or Facebook, don’t stop sharing your story! Include as much detail as possible, because everything you share is valuable. What is your profession, what do you use kratom for, how long have you been using kratom, how do you use kratom, in what dosages, etc.
More positive messages shared on social media is positive for the community and places pressure on the FDA to spend more money in order to sway online sentiment back towards their favor.
Currently, Facebook and Instagram are stricter with kratom content due to their close affiliation with government and major pharmaceutical conglomerates. On the other hand, Reddit and Twitter are good platforms to share testimonials and stories to a growing and relatively active community.
Attend American kratom Association webinars
Every so often, the American Kratom Association (AKA) will host online webinars to provide legislative and regulatory updates on kratom. For example, in July 2019, the AKA held an online webinar in preparation for Ohio’s public hearing with the Ohio Board of Pharmacy regarding the potential ban of kratom.
Those who attended received the latest and most relevant information on kratom, in preparation for the public hearing.
During the webinar, AKA members shared general tips and advice on how to make a strong first impression when meeting legislators.
During each webinar, there are Q&A sessions for those in attendance to ask for further clarification or advice regarding kratom or public hearings. And those who could not make it to the live webinar can watch a recorded video that the AKA typically shares on their Twitter page.
These webinars are an excellent source for those intending to participate in public hearings, and also those who wish to learn more about kratom and related news.
In Canada, the Kratom Society (KS) has become the go-to source for information and is actively pushing for awareness in the country.
Due to continuous effort by the U.S government suppressing positive news on kratom and flooding social media outlets with negative news, awareness of kratom has struggled to take off. For this reason, a great number of people across the U.S. and worldwide are still either skeptical of kratom or have never heard of the plant.
As an active kratom advocate, one of your roles is to educate others. Let people know your story: how you began using the natural plant and what role it plays in your life.
At the end of the day, your friends will associate kratom with you. So be well-informed, well-dressed, and well-mannered to everyone you come across.
One last point to remember when embarking upon this journey of educating others: do not force the idea of kratom advocacy on others. Not everyone needs kratom, just like not everyone needs coffee or Advil. Some people might, but others won’t need the benefits of kratom. Be ready to share your story when the time is right, but don’t be “that guy” who talks about kratom for 2 hours at every dinner.
Show support at public hearings
Educating your friends, neighbors and colleagues (especially those who need it) on the topic of kratom is important. It can potentially attract new kratom supporters and can even save someone’s life from chronic pain (an important benefit for many users). But the real challenge for kratom right now is not user acquisition. In fact, there are over 5 million users in the U.S. already. The real challenge facing kratom today is the fear of government regulation that threatens the existence of kratom itself.
Several states have already attempted to ban kratom through legislation. Some have succeeded (i.e. Washington, Indiana, and Wisconsin) while others have failed due to support from the AKA and kratom advocates (i.e. Kentucky, Kansas, and Georgia).
In the U.S., prior to any legislative action, states must host public hearings to discuss the sides for and against kratom. The next public hearing will be in Ohio where the Ohio Board of Pharmacy will hold a public hearing on Friday, August 9, 2019 at 10:00am to consider the ban on kratom. Each person who attends that public hearing will be given up to 5 minutes to speak and share their testimony.
The total number of kratom advocates that attend this public meeting plays a huge determining factor in the final outcome of kratom within the state. So too does the quality of each person’s testimonial.
If you live in Ohio and are interested in protecting kratom or the rights to make our own decisions about our health and well-being, we encourage you to attend this public hearing.
What you shouldn’t do
Avoid writing bad posts targeting the government
Since kratom has saved the lives of millions, it is tempting to lash out at government and regulatory agencies that are attempting to paint kratom in a bad light or, worse, trying to ban it. But we must refrain from this type of behaviour. For years, governments have painted the average kratom user as an outcast or unproductive member of society who is addicted to drugs and needs psychological help. However, in reality, kratom users do not always fit this profile.
Many kratom users are highly productive individuals and use kratom as a source of energy. They are lawyers, bankers, writers, and even members of parliament. They are educated, well-informed, and polite. Therefore, when writing posts about kratom and related news stories, avoid using profanity, caps lock, and exclamation marks, as this makes the writer sound emotional. Instead, stick to the facts.
Some common facts about kratom:
- How many people currently use kratom: 5 million in the US
- How many kratom-related deaths occur per year: Very few, similar to the amount of deaths caused by coffee. Compare that to over 150,000 cigarette related deaths, 80,000 sugar related deaths, 30,000 motor vehicle accidents and 10,000 deaths due to impaired driving.
- How much money do big pharmaceuticals companies provide to the FDA: 75% of FDA’s budget (of $5.1 billion) is funded by pharmaceutical companies every year to make sure they say bad things about natural drugs like kratom.
Don’t being impolite during public hearing
Similar to sounding polite with your social media postings, you must also be courteous when meeting and speaking with government representatives in person. Some general tips:
- Dress for the occasion — It is good practice to dress neatly for public hearings. For example, fitted shirts, cardigans, or tailored pants. You’d much rather be overdressed than seen as messy. Remove any extreme piercings and cover visible tattoos with long sleeves or buttoned up blouses.
- Give a firm handshake — Handshakes symbolize professionalism, and exudes confidence. You should never squeeze someone’s hands too tightly, but don’t offer someone a limp hand either as this signifies weakness. If you are sitting, rise before extending your hand to show respect.
- Make eye contact — People will think you are nervous or rude when you avoid eye contact. Therefore, to make a good first impression, maintain eye contact when entering the public hearing. The same holds true when you are shaking hands to introduce yourself or say goodbye.
- Smile — Facial expression is important when it comes to making a good impression. A warm and confident smile will put you and the other person at ease. But don’t go overboard with this – this will may you seem insincere. Instead go for an “I would love to chat with you” look. You will come across as warm and outgoing.
- Speak clearly — There is no point introducing yourself if you are mumbling or speaking in an otherwise unclear manner. The last thing you want is to be easily forgettable. By speaking in a confident and articulate way, and backing up your thoughts with facts, you can ensure what you say is impactful and remembered. Try standing up straight while speaking, you will automatically feel more confident. Also, try widening your mouth and slowing down your speech.
- Wait before you sit down — After you have shaken hands and introduced yourself do not sit down immediately. There may be more people to meet and share your story with. It is polite to wait until invited to sit. One of the hosts may say “please sit down” or “take a seat.” Waiting for others, especially the government representatives, to sit down first is a sign of respect and leaves a good impression. At the very least, you won’t appear rude and hasty.
Don’t give up
Keep supporting the kratom community. Even if it’s your family members or friends who are using kratom. Whether on Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Facebook, or at public hearings, don’t stop supporting kratom.
The more kratom advocates continue to talk about kratom, the more money big pharmaceutical companies will have to invest in order to block out the noise. Every single time you make a post about kratom, big pharmaceutical companies need to post 2 times in order to cover up your story. Your posts are free for you, but pharmaceutical companies invest hundreds and thousands of dollars just to get one post approved and published.
If you aren’t comfortable writing posts on social media, you can still support the community by giving other writers a “comment”, “thumbs up”, “like”, or “retweet”. It tells the pharmaceutical companies that people are reading these posts, and motivates others to continue writing and advocating for the legalization of kratom. Overtime, the pharmaceutical companies will realize they are fighting a never-ending battle that is costing them a fortune. And maybe, just maybe, kratom will end up becoming legalized in the U.S.