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Kratom: Lawmaker pushing bill to make Utah first state to regulate the 'miracle cure'

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  • Kratom: Lawmaker pushing bill to make Utah first state to regulate the 'miracle cure'

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    Salt Lake City, Utah - You may not have heard of it, unless you're a hard-core vaper or one of the estimated one million Utahns who suffer from chronic pain. It's Kratom. It's a tree. Its leaves are used for everything from curing the common cough, to treating chronic pain. But if Kraton is mixed with any other substances - to make it more potent or just to flavor it - it can be dangerous. Now, one lawmaker is trying to make Utah the first state in America to regulate it.
    "Kratom is a nutritional supplement. It's an herbal remedy. It's a plant," says Senator Curtis Bramble.
    He'd never heard of this little-known home remedy that's all the rage among vapers, as well as chronic pain sufferers.
    "Look, I don't use Kratom," he says, with a laugh.
    But senator Bramble has studied the substance and the subject.
    "They grind it up into a powder," he explains. "They put it in water. They make a kind of tea out of it. They put it in capsules."
    And they snort it or vape it, sometimes, mixed with other substances, to spike it or cut it. Many of them buy it from smoke shops and vaping lounges, where they have to trust that the vendor or the supplier is selling an untainted product. But there's no way to know. And that's the problem, according to Senator Bramble. He says industry representatives approached him with a request.
    "They said, 'Look, we're being attacked on all fronts. We believe there should be a responsible regulatory structure around the manufacture and sale of our products." So he started studying the substance, and one of the discoveries he made was that Kratom can be harmful if used the wrong way.
    "If you take Kratom and you mix it with other compounds, it can have adverse effects," he says. "It can be dangerous."
    The senator floated a bill, Senate Bill 58, "Kratom Consumer Protection Act." And as soon as word got out, he says he was flooded with email from constituents.
    "Their passion for this herb is. . . I was surprised, frankly."
    SB 58 would prohibit a dealer from preparing, packaging, distributing or selling Kratom with any non-Kratom substance. In other words, it would be illegal to cut it or spike it. The bill would also require proof that the product is tested and certified for quality. Independent testing labs would have to certify it, and manufacturers would have to pay for the testing. Senate Bill 58 will start its journey to passage in the Business, Economic Development, and Labor Appropriations Subcommittee, where none other than Senator Bramble is the chairman. There is no visible opposition to the bill, yet.
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