A look at some of our successes since inception!
The American Kratom Association, or AKA (www.americankratom.org), was officially launched one year ago (2/1/15) though the groundwork was being laid six months prior. Called to action by a growing number of people who credit the plant for changing their lives but that lacked a unified direction, we filled the need for a non-profit entity, run by and for consumers. Not only have we become a widely influential organization, we've become a tight-knit community and given voice to tens of thousands of people largely misrepresented, underrepresented and highly misunderstood by the media, elected officials and the general public.
In 2014, through Import Alert 54-15, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) declared a war on kratom imports and thus a war on kratom itself. In 2015, we watched as 1) the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who'd placed kratom on a list of "drugs and chemicals of concern," removed it, only to add it back, 2) names were added to 54-15's "red list" more rapidly and frequently, removing importing abilities, 3) a few counties citing existing laws intended for other substances removed kratom from their shelves, 4) a few of our "legal states" attempted bans, and 5) companies faced shipping difficulties of varying degree; serious enough to put some out of the business of kratom altogether. In 2016, at the federal level, we started the year off with a large, FDA public seizure of kratom products, sending a strong message that skirting around regulations will no longer be tolerated. At the state level, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina introduced bills to ban kratom. And Arkansas added it to its controlled substances list.
We're constantly fighting rhetoric and propaganda originating from government agencies and corporate entities who stand to gain from banning kratom. The alleged dangers of, and just as frustrating, the false assessment, that kratom has no medicinal value, never quite matches up to our user testimonies and the science. We're also constantly hearing stories about the miracle kratom can be to so many people. That's what keeps us going. YOU, our members and generous donors, are what keep us going. And we need your help now more than ever.
To that end, let's visit some of the successes in kratom advocacy from 2015/2016:
- Defeated two attempts to ban kratom in Florida 2015 and 2016
- Defeated a bill to ban kratom in Louisiana in 2015 (our e-mails were acknowledged during the actual debate on the Louisiana House Floor for HB 1196) /
- Led the state of Wisconsin to take initial steps toward removing its current ban (then watched them back-track).
- Prevented misleading caution signs from being required in Palm Beach County, Florida at all points of sale
- Traveled to WI, FL, GA, AL, KY and NY on education/advocacy/lobbying trips
- Testified at hearings in FL and GA
- Defeated attempts to ban kratom in every state listed above except Alabama. Alabama was a very frustrating and disappointing loss, but we will not give up on Alabama or any other of the banned states.
Organizational Growth, Social Media Presence
- Facebook business page grew to over 15,000 likes
- Facebook discussion group grew to over 2,400 members
- Gained 1600 Twitter followers @theKratomAssn
- Gained well over 300 dues-paying members from all over the country
- Launched and host state AKA pages on Facebook for all 50 states run by 40 active, passionate volunteers
(Ex. "Florida AKA for Kratom")
- Joined American Herbal Products Association (AHPA)
- Started a YouTube channel for testimonials
- Launched "I Stand with Kratom" website in an effort to unite the kratom community
- Collected and published a few hundred testimonials
- Launched new and improved AKA website - a better resource and organizing tool www.americankratom.org and gathered over 3,000 e-mail addresses
- Coordinated successful letter writing and phone campaigns for MI, WI, FL, IN, NC, NH, NJ, GA, KY, AL and NY
- Hired Paul Pelosi, Jr. as our new Director!
Prior to the AKA's launch, few stories covered our side, the side of the responsible adult consumer. We’ve appeared in over 40 print/online, radio and/or TV pieces, including a foray with the New York Times, an excellent piece in the Huffington Post and will be featured in an upcoming episode of ABC Nightline. Susan Ash has given over 3 dozen individual media interviews.
Finally we celebrate the important contributions of our whole team: Angie Ross, Will Robin, Robin Graham and her superstar volunteers, Shannon Scatolini, Julie Rozema-Riemenschneider and last but not least, our two Pauls, Paul Pelosi, Jr and AKA Chief Information Officer, Paul Kemp. Mr. Pelosi is working behind the scenes to take the AKA to a whole new level and Mr. Kemp, independent of his role with the AKA, has made major strides by writing articles about kratom every week! Here’s to another great year!