The American Kratom Association (“AKA”) has learned that many kratom advocates are concerned about rumors that have been circulating regarding the status of kratom raw material supplies from Indonesia. The sources of rumors are claiming the Indonesian National Narcotics Board (in Indonesia known as Badan Narkotika Nasional, abbreviated “BNN”) has proposed a kratom export ban from Indonesia in 2024. That statement is true. What is inaccurate is the conclusion that the BNN has the exclusive authority to enact such a ban. Any ban on kratom exports is a decision that will be made at higher levels of the Indonesian government.

In the same way the FDA lacks the exclusive authority to classify kratom’s constituent alkaloids as Schedule I substances here in the U.S., the BNN does not have the exclusive authority to order an export ban on kratom in Indonesia. In fact, the BNN is limited to simply making recommendations to the president of Indonesia, and a variety of Ministries in the Indonesian government will have the ability to provide alternate policy options to the president.

The Indonesian Ministry of Health has received documents from the AKA on the current science on the safety profile of kratom supporting the classification as a medicinal herb that will directly challenge the BNN’s proposal. The Indonesian president’s Chief of Staff, in a meeting with AKA and others, confirmed that there are more than 200,000 Indonesian farmers who rely solely on kratom harvesting for the livelihood of their families. That fact makes it highly unlikely the Indonesian president will approve the BNN proposal to ban kratom exports in 2024 given that those families have no other available options to maintain their livelihoods.

Some in the kratom community are concerned that these rumors are being circulated by enemies of AKA and are attempting to undermine the ongoing efforts to work with the Indonesian government to establish a secure and legal pipeline of kratom raw materials from Indonesia to the United States. Kratom consumers should closely examine the source of these rumors, and the content of their messaging, to determine whether the rumors or statements have any credibility. The old adage of “follow the money” seems to be the best tool to assess whether the source of these rumors should be taken seriously or not. Do those starting and re-circulating these incorrect rumors stand to reap a financial windfall or not if they create a panic in the U.S. market?

The long term solution is to secure a commitment from the Indonesian government to join with the AKA in a petition the U.S. FDA to lift the existing import alerts and replacing them with a program that would establish a set of standards to assure the supply chain of kratom raw materials is free from contaminants and properly tested before they are shipped from Indonesia, and subject to a validation test when those raw materials arrive in the United States.

The AKA has never exported kratom into the U.S. for any commercial purpose and has not sold any kratom product in the marketplace. The shared goal should be to ensure a sustainable supply of kratom raw materials entering the U.S. that can manufactured into safe finished products that are responsibly used by kratom consumers.

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