KCPA – What is The Kratom Consumer Protection Act?

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Kratom has come a long way, from centuries of use in Southeast Asian countries to its introduction to the US market in the 90s, closely followed by federal legalization. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t had its fair share of challenges. Despite the plant’s legal status in some states, it’s still illegal in other states. Plus, states seem to change and update regulations on kratom use every other day.

This has prompted various kratom advocacy communities and associations like the American Kratom Association (AKA) to work tirelessly to maintain and improve its legal standing, especially when the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) is involved.

Although it’s not a new concept, the KCPA has recently been a point of debate, spurred mainly by the FDA’s intent to ban the plant completely. Let’s take an in-depth look into the KCPA, from what it is to what it means for the kratom community. We’ll also look into the states that have implemented the bill.

What Is the KCPA?

The Kratom Consumer Protection Act, better known as the KCPA, is a set of regulations geared toward protecting the rights of kratom users across the United States. It has clearly defined guidelines on the manufacture, labeling, distribution, sale, and position of kratom products.

In essence, the KCPA ensures that kratom manufacturers and vendors adhere to regulations prohibiting them from selling sub-par kratom products that could harm consumers. The KCPA has standard text. However, states can tweak and amend it as they please to suit the state’s agenda.

This means that even if your state passes the act, it will certainly have a modified version of the bill. Therefore, vendors and consumers must stay updated with their state’s guidelines to promote a safe shopping experience and avoid the hefty fines and criminal charges that may occur if they fail to comply.

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Here is a brief preview of some of the standard text in the KCPA.

  • Banning the sale of any contaminated or adulterated kratom products
  • Prohibiting the sale of kratom to minors
  • Disclosing if any food items contain kratom
  • Banning any kratom products that contain substances that alter the strength or quality of kratom in a way that could harm the consumer
  • Labeling kratom products and stating their origin and ingredients
  • Prohibiting the sale of kratom products that contain substances banned in the respective state
  • Disclosing the number of alkaloids that each product contains
  • Prohibiting the sale of kratom products that contain more than 2 percent of 7-hydroxy mitragynine

How Did the KCPA Come to Be?

Despite being around for nearly three decades, kratom first came under heavy scrutiny in 2013 with a bill aimed at banning it, followed closely by the DEA’s statement on its willingness to outlaw the herb and its products completely. What followed was an uphill battle for kratom’s legality that continues today.

After the ‘threats’ made to the legal standing of kratom, various kratom associations and communities put up a fight that eventually caused the DEA to stand down. However, since the FDA did not acknowledge kratom and thus didn’t have any regulations for manufacturers and vendors to follow, numerous substandard and contaminated kratom products continued to hit the shelves.

This prompted the AKA and the Botanical Education Alliance (BEA) to seek means of improving the kratom experience for American consumers. The AKA developed the Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) program, which was adopted by some brands. However, since the GMP program was not mandatory, it remained somewhat ineffective.

A few years down the line, both organizations sat down and came up with the KCPA and subsequently started lobbying it to lawmakers across the US. The state of Utah was the first to pass the bill, and several states followed. Currently, four states have implemented the act, and several others are in the process of reviewing it.

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Why Do We Need the KCPA?

When kratom was first introduced to the US market, it wasn’t regulated. The quality of kratom you got all came down to your vendor and their manufacturing practices. A few decades down the line, it’s still one of the least regulated products on our shelves.

Although not all low-quality and adulterated kratom products can harm you, you shouldn’t have to pay for a product that doesn’t live up to your expectations. That’s where the KCPA comes in. This act seeks to regulate kratom product manufacturers and vendors, so they sell only high-quality and properly labeled kratom products that are beneficial to the user.

Which States Have Passed the KCPA?

As we’ve said in the previous section, only four states have passed the KCPA: Utah, Nevada, Georgia, and Arizona.

That said, the AKA is working with several other states to lay the groundwork for the implementation of the KCPA. Unfortunately, the situation in the prospective states is different. So the AKA has a lot of moving parts to deal with, not to mention its limited budget. Ultimately, it’s hard to tell if the organization will achieve its goals due to the implications presented by the political landscape of the states.

You can also contribute to its implementation by participating in government hearings and social platforms to make kratom more widely accepted. Once lawmakers see the possible positive effect the act presents, they’ll be more likely to rally behind the cause.

Does the FDA Regulate Kratom?

Contrary to what you’d expect, the FDA doesn’t regulate kratom at all. However, it has repeatedly aired its concerns over the safety of kratom and has, on several occasions, pushed for the complete ban of the plant. Currently, the FDA is running several studies on the herb and continues to warn the public about the safety implications of using kratom.

However, these warnings have come under heavy criticism from the kratom communities, with some users claiming that the FDA is only concerned about hurting the pharmaceutical industry. Therefore, the KCPA will remain crucial to the market until the FDA starts actively regulating kratom.

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The Bottom Line

Despite its widespread usage across the United States, kratom remains one of the least regulated substances on the market. However, the KCPA aims to change this. This vital piece of legislation holds manufacturers and vendors responsible for the kratom they sell to consumers, resulting in safer, more effective products.

Although the KCPA has only been implemented in four states, the AKA is working relentlessly with lawmakers for widespread implementation, even at the federal level.

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