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Broward Commissioners Want More Research Before Banning Kratom

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BROWARD (CBSMiami) - The addictive herbal drug kratom will not be banned in Broward County – for now at least.

At Tuesday's County Commission meeting the proposed ban was shot down. A majority of the commissioners stated more research was needed before they would consider imposing regulations. They said the vote will be revisited in the coming months.

Commissioner Kristin Jacobs, the sponsor of the ban, said kratom mimics illegal drugs like heroin when consumed.

According to the Sun Sentinel, Commissioner Stacy Ritter argued the pharmaceutical industry could be teaming up with doctors to keep kratom off the shelves because it competes with prescription drugs.

Dr. Craig Mallak, the Broward medical examiner, stated he only knew of one possible kratom-related death in America – a man in Denver.

Broward's decision parallels Palm Beach County who considered the ban, but put the vote on hold so more research could be done.

Jacobs said her fellow commissioners "lacked knowledge" and that Mallak "doesn't exactly work with live people,'' which he disputed.

She even called Mallak to the podium to ask him: "Would you say that today, by not banning kratom, are we killing people?''

Mallak responded "no."

A county memo noted the use of kratom has been banned by the U.S. Army and Navy. The federal Drug Enforcement Agency even placed it on a watch list.

Kratom could be regulated much like local governments did when bath salts and synthetic marijuana hit the shelves.

Ritter did note that alcohol and tobacco are legal, and yet they carry risks. She added "personal responsibility" and moderation can go a long way in self-regulating these risks.


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