Inside the Kratom Craze

Original Post by: Katie LaGrone

A Contact 5 Investigators exclusive report

Contact 5 travels inside a distribution center

We can't tell you where we were or show you the route we took to get there.

But about 150 miles away from Palm Beach County, in a nondescript office building, Jim Morisette has agreed to show us inside his business.  It’s a business that has the FDA, DEA and virtually every local law enforcement agency in the country watching.

In the two years he’s been in operation, Morisette of MT Lotz Distributors, has never opened his doors to the public.

"There's a big fear in this industry, huge fear in this industry," he explained to the Contact 5 Investigators during our visit last month.

Morisette is an online kratom distributor, one of a growing number who import, repackage and sell the controversial powdered plant for profit. 

“Do you think you're doing anything wrong?” asked the Contact 5 Investigators.

"No, on the contrary.  I think I'm helping a heck of a lot of people,” he said.

Kratom is a natural herb, commonly used in teas.  It’s often credited for curbing drug addiction and widely criticized by others for fueling it.

Some states have banned kratom while local decision makers in Palm Beach County are beginning the conversations over whether it should be regulated here.

"There's no question that kratom is the solution,” said Morisette.  “I deal with people every day with addiction problems, pain problems and in some states where it’s been made illegal people are crushed,” he said.

The Contact 5 Investigators recently had kratom purchases tested.  The results exposed how plant potency levels can range from batch to batch, product to product or drink to drink.

"I'm not saying there aren't companies out there that are doing the wrong thing but I'm telling you that the people that influence are doing the right thing,” Morisette said.  With so much talk about regulating the substance, Morisette often finds himself out of the office and in front of  city and county commission meetings trying to make the case to keep kratom legal.

"I think that kratom got dragged down with all the synthetics that were out there that were really bad," he said.

For an industry masked in mystery, Morisette's kratom kingdom is surprisingly simple.  In just 1,200 square feet of office space, powdered kratom arrives in kilo bags directly from Indonesia.

It's then handled by two glove-toting employees who spend hours meticulously weighing and measuring before they pour enough of the greens to fill 30 gram bottles of powder or capsules.

No product leaves the distribution center without a protective seal and a warning.  It's a must-have for a business constantly on the defense.

"It's very very difficult, you fight it on every front," he said.

A former high rise project manager who lost millions when the real estate market crashed, Morisette is banking on kratom to save him; that is, if he can save it first.

"The frustration that we have with legislation and governmental bodies regulating.  We just need to be left alone to do business in the United States.

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