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Understand SITSA & It’s Effects On Kratom

Jemi Fischbach

While Kratom has long been a coveted substance in the countries where it is native, with more westerners gaining interest in the plant, government bodies have made themselves more involved in its control and regulation, especially within the United States. The SITSA Act aimed at heightening control over substances but in 2018 when it fell through, Kratom’s place within America was put into a state of flux.

SITSA: What Was It?

The SITSA Act stood for Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act. The Act was created in 2017 however it was not until 2018 that it was brought up on the floor. SISTA’s main goal was to enforce more regulation surrounding synthetic opioid-like substances, and other analogous substances from overseas.

As the Act would have wreaked havoc on the Kratom industry around the world and especially within America, many advocates and Kratom organizations were extremely opposed to it. However, because it was not only targeted at Kratom, there were several other holistic industries that were affected, as many health food products could have been in jeopardy of criminalization.

The Primary SITSA Actions

As there is a highly volatile opioid crisis within the United States, the Act wanted to try and tackle the issues it presented however it was way too extreme and did not help but rather hinder. As many substances that can help treat opioid withdrawal are deemed synthetic analogs, they were banned because of SITSA and thus many people who were hoping to use these for recovery purposes were no longer able to.

Outlined below is an overview of the primary actions of SITSA:

Gave the attorney general the ability to enforce and create laws surrounding controlled substances. Many thought of this ability as too much power for one person as in other cases laws have to pass through multiple people before they can be enforced.
Enact strict penalties to people that were going to violate any of the rules and laws set out by the Act. As in normal circumstances, the US Sentencing Commission would normally be consulted when creating these penalties however they were not when SITSA was developed. In American history, strict penalties have been an ineffective method to combat the opioid crisis as addicts often benefit from treatment rather than incarceration.
It developed an A Class for substances that could potentially emulate the effects of other illegal substances.

How Did SITSA Threaten Kratom?

Kratom’s current regulations and rules in the United States prevent accurate and detailed information to be publicized. As there are specific guidelines that researchers and vendors need to follow when speaking about Kratom it has left it open to manipulation and misinformation. SITSA was one of the things that strategically took advantage of Kratom’s lack of defense.

Outlined in the Act, a vague clause stated that substances similar in chemical nature to an opioid could be deemed a controlled substance. As Kratom does not have the same chemical makeup of any opioids but some similar characteristics, the Act could quickly have banned Kratom altogether. Additionally, because the Act created a new Class A of controlled substances, Kratom could easily fall into this as there was not enough accurate information regarding Kratom and its effects.

As the laws did not allow manufacturers to release correct information, Kratom would have been classified as an A drug in no time. As many people outside of the Kratom community do not know a lot about the substance, Kratom was open to critique. Any of the information provided by legislators was easily left undisputed. The SITSA act primarily benefits and protects pharmaceutical companies who would suffer if an alternative method was used to treat the opioid crisis.

The Outcome

The SITSA act had many issues, and it was unable to classify Kratom as an illicit substance, and any further investigations were put to a halt when the SITSA Act did not pass through the senate. While seen as a harmful substance at the time, Kratom did not end up suffering from the SITSA Act, which is great news for advocates because it can be a useful substance for many people.

While the Act did not pass, there are still several other threats to Kratom and Kratom’s research. Consumers can help put Kratom in good books by supporting businesses that exercise ethical and fair trade business practices. As many vendors offer high-quality Kratom, they need to stay in operation so that other retailers that sell low-quality products don’t ruin the industry’s reputation.

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