Kratom legality is a question that concerns many.
Users want kratom to remain legal because it helps them manage pain, stress, and anxiety, boost their mood and gain extra energy. According to testimonials and stories from users, kratom can be used instead of prescription drugs for numerous health conditions. Such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, back pain, depression, and even PTSD.
Federal agencies, on the other hand, want to ban it. They claim that kratom has no medical benefits and poses high health risks.
At the moment, kratom remains legal in certain locations. It outlawed in others and you can face serious consequences for disregarding that. There are also countries where kratom legality is unclear.
Therefore, knowing if kratom is legal or not in your geographic location is important to know before you purchase it.
But, before we tackle this, let’s look at…
The History of Kratom Use and Legality
Relatively new to the western world, kratom was a traditional medicine in Southeast Asia for centuries. It was used as a stimulant and pain reliever, as well as for a number of conditions such as digestive disorders, intestinal parasites, and cough.
There were no rules or regulations about kratom. Peasants and workers could freely use it.
In the early 1800s, kratom was discovered by Dutch settlers. They brought kratom to Europe and started investigating it. Yet, it became popular among users only in the early 2000s.
The AKA (American Kratom Association) estimates that there are about 3-5 million kratom users in the United States. And, according to the data from 2016, kratom industry in the US was worth over a billion dollars.
Kratom Legality by Country and Continent
Kratom Legality: US
In late August 2016, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) announced it’s intent to place kratom and its active components under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Their reason was kratom’s opioid-like properties and concern about public safety.
While the proposal received major backlash from the public and was withdrawn, the battle for kratom continues.
Currently, kratom is legal in America except for the following states:
- Rhode Island
Kratom is also illegal in the following cities and counties:
- San Diego in California
- Sarasota County in Florida
- Jerseyville in Illinois
- Alton in Illinois
- Alcorn County in Mississippi
- Columbus City in Mississippi
- Itawamba County in Mississippi
- Lowndes County in Mississippi
- Monroe County in Mississippi
- Senatobia City in Mississippi
- Tishomingo County in Mississippi
- Union County in Mississippi
In the remaining locations, it is legal to grow, possess, and use kratom.
A few locations in the US regulate or consider regulating kratom.
For more detailed information on kratom legality in each state, view this post on kratom legality in the United States.
The FDA does not regulate it at this time, and you don’t need a prescription to buy it.
However, kratom cannot be sold or marketed to treat any sort of condition or disease. That means that kratom is legal as long as vendors do not sell it labeled as a dietary supplement.
Kratom Legality: Canada
Kratom legality in Canada is a grey area, similarly to how it is in the United States. There is also an ongoing debate about whether the government should implement a kratom ban.
According to CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and Health Canada, kratom is illegal if one sells or possesses it with an intent to ingest.
Yet, kratom powder and capsules are available for sale in Canada. As long as it’s not meant for ingestion, kratom remains legal.
Kratom Legality: Europe
While the European Union has no borders and has a unified currency, each country has its own legislation.
Thus, kratom legality by country will vary.
As of 2016, it is illegal to import, export, or sell kratom in the United Kingdom. There is a UK based kratom company that claims that kratom is 100% legal in the UK. Nonetheless, the UK Psychoactive Substances Act that came into effect in May 2016, does include in the list of outlawed substances that produce psychoactive effects.
In 2017, Ireland also enlisted kratom as a Schedule I illegal drug.
Kratom also remains a controlled or illegal substance in Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Russia, Sweden, and Turkey.
Since 2016, kratom has been listed among major drugs in Italy. It is illegal to possess, sell, or import it there.
In Denmark and Finland, kratom is a controlled substance, yet one can purchase it with a valid doctor’s prescription.
Germany remains a grey area for kratom users. It is not an illegal substance, but it’s an unapproved medical drug which makes it illegal to buy, sell, import, or use it.
In the rest of the European countries, kratom is currently legal.
Kratom Legality: Australia and New Zealand
In 2003, Australia banned kratom as a narcotic substance due to concerns about potential abuse. However, no actual instances of kratom abuse have ever happened there.
Since 2009 kratom and its active ingredients are illegal to grow, buy, or sell in New Zealand without a medical prescription. If you do have one, you can use kratom in New Zealand without problems.
Kratom Legality: Asia
Ironically, the very region that kratom is indigenous to, does not allow its free use. At least not everywhere.
ASEAN, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, lists kratom as illegal. No traditional medicines or dietary supplements in these countries can contain kratom or its derivatives. It is also illegal to use, buy, or sell kratom there. Countries that are a part of the ASEAN are:
Yet, you’ll notice that some of the countries on this list, for example, Indonesia and Malaysia, are where kratom is currently grown and produced. Despite the blanket ban, in several of these locations kratom legality remains a grey area. It’s neither legal or illegal, having no rules regulating it within the country. Or it is illegal and heavily punishable, yet allowed to be grown, harvested, and exported (without using it, of course).
In addition to that, Thailand legalized kratom for medicinal use in December, 2018.
If you’re unclear about the status of kratom in any of these countries, it’s best not to put kratom in your luggage. Southeast Asian countries normally have strict drug laws and heavy punishment for breaking them if you get caught.
South Korea also prohibits the use of kratom. You risk fines or jail time if you choose to import or export it.
Kratom is illegal in Japan.
Its status is unclear in China and there are no reliable sources to clarify that. However, according to our sources various vendors on TaoBao, the Chinese equivalent of Amazon, were shut down after listing it for sale. Also, considering China’s policy on opioids (which are illegal), we wouldn’t risk using or importing kratom into China.
In India kratom is currently legal, though be careful purchasing it there. There is a tree of the Mitragyna family that grows in India. While it has similar properties they aren’t the same as those of kratom. Indian vendors label it as Indian Kratom which is much cheaper. Yet, users have complained about it not being nearly as effective and causing nausea.
Kratom Legality: South America
The only official reports on kratom legality are available on Brazil where kratom is legal.
Is kratom legal in other locations around South America?
Currently, there is no reliable information available in other South American countries. But, users have reported having no problems traveling into and around South America with kratom.
They do, however, advise against traveling back to the USA from countries such as Colombia. They mention that border officials can mistake kratom for coca leaves and may cause issues.
Traveling with Kratom
If you intend to travel with kratom, be sure you know the latest information on the legislation of kratom in your destination. Is kratom legal there? Then most likely you will be fine.
In most locations around the world, kratom is currently legal. But, there are countries where you will face a fine or other punishment if you act against the law.
Keep in mind that there are locations that are still unfamiliar with kratom. As a result, they may not have any rules or regulations about it at all.
Meanwhile, other countries have kratom legality in the unclear, grey area.
If that is the case and you can’t find a definite answer to whether you can enter the specific country with kratom, it may be safer to leave your kratom at home. Doing so will ensure that you don’t get into any legal problems.
It will also prevent the reputation of kratom from being tarnished even further. Any negative incident anywhere in the world can be used by the federal agencies as a reason for the kratom ban.
Do you have any experience with kratom in the countries that we have and haven’t mentioned? Is kratom legal there? Any other comments on kratom legality in different corners of the globe? Feel free to share them with us.
We do our best to ensure that we have the latest and most accurate information on our website. We wrote this post in September 2018, and the information included in it may change over time.
[Latest update: April, 2019]
If you notice a recent change in legality that we have not included yet, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know. Or simply leave a comment. We will highly appreciate it.