The American Kratom Association was formed in 2014 and officially launched in 2015, to protect the right of all Americans to use the natural botanical Kratom for improved health and well-being. Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a natural analgesic which has been used for hundreds of years to safely alleviate pain, combat fatigue and help with the effects of anxiety and depression. Unfortunately, the spread of misinformation, both scientific and anecdotal, about Kratom has created a challenging regulatory environment. The American Kratom Association was formed to organize and represent a community of responsible consumers, provide the general public with clarification surrounding matters of health and wellness where Kratom could play an important role, educate lawmakers and regulators and support scientific research efforts.
On behalf of the growing numbers of Kratom users, including doctors, lawyers, teachers and law enforcement officers, The American Kratom Association works to help protect their ability to use Kratom for the purposes of improved health and wellbeing.
The American Kratom Association has 5 main goals:
- Support Consumers. We believe many political and private entities don't make the needs of the consumer and constituents a priority. Our goal is to change that.
- Educate. Kratom has many beneficial purposes and is an all-natural alternative. Our goal is to educate all Americans—from potential consumers to regulators and everyone in between.
Amplify. We represent thousands of Americans that each have a story to tell.
We believe the current environment in the United States often does not listen to individual voices and together we will make our voice heard.
- Global Awareness. We hope to demonstrate responsible use and practical knowledge other countries may study when considering Kratom legislation.
Protect Natural Resources. Kratom is a precious natural resource.
We support and advocate for sustainable harvesting techniques and reforestation efforts.
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Susan Ash, Founder/Director
Susan Ash is Director and founder of the American Kratom Association, a nonprofit organization formed to advocate for the safe and legal use of the natural botanical, Kratom. A native of Virginia, Ash began her professional career 25 years ago as a Park Ranger/Naturalist at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. She continued her work in the environmental field, leading forest preservation and policy campaigns out West.
Ash has dedicated her career to philanthropic and advocacy efforts, holding numerous leadership roles while also chairing and serving on Boards of other organizations, like the Audubon Society of Portland and Norfolk, Virginia’s Keep Norfolk Beautiful nonprofit, where she served as Assistant Recycling Coordinator and Environmental Programs and Volunteer Coordinator.
Passionate about government and the political process, Ash also spent several months volunteering as the Senior Office Manager and then Operations Manager for the Obama for President Campaign in Norfolk in 2008 and 2012, respectively.
Ash earned a Bachelor of Science in Public Communications with a minor in Biology from Old Dominion University and a Master of Science in Forestry from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Her professional career was cut short in 2011 when she had to leave her job in Norfolk due to a debilitating case of Lyme Disease that went undiagnosed for nearly eight years. Ash uses Kratom regularly to manage symptoms of a chronic illness, and is a proud advocate for her fellow consumers.
Peter Candland, Executive Director
The American Kratom Association continues to grow and expand its efforts to protect the rights of all Americans to utilize kratom for better health and well-being. As an organization, we are excited to announce the hire of Pete Candland with Red Letter Consulting who will be performing the duties of our Executive Director. Pete has been tasked to help shape our long-term vision, as well as manage the day-to-day operations of the organization.
Mr. Candland brings to our organization over 16 years of experience working for multiple Fortune 500 companies and with a strong background in operational management and financial analysis. Hailing from Virginia, close to Washington D.C. and all the AKA's professional consultants, he has extensive experience working with the legislative process and government entities on all levels.
Pete's extensive experience in public advocacy, devotion to process improvement, and his outstanding leadership skills will help AKA continue the fight to protect the right of individuals to use kratom.
Susan Ash will continue to serve as AKA's Founder/Director and will focus on public relations, fundraising and advocacy work.