The herbal supplement known as kratom has been banned from retail sale in the Town of Monument.
Kratom, created from the leaves of a plant which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papa New Guinea, was the topic of an emergency ordinance put before the Monument Board of Trustees during its Nov. 18 meeting. Taken in pills or brewed as a tea, the pain-relieving compounds in kratom are used by some to treat depression, anxiety and opioid withdrawal.
Two amendments were made to the ordinance prior to it passing. The first was to change it to a “garden variety” ordinance rather than an emergency, and the second was to amend the verbiage of the ordinance to exclude human consumption from the ban.
Acting commander Jonathan Hudson, a sergeant of the Monument Police Department, said there is one gas station within town limits, which remained unnamed, with the supplement on its shelves. Hudson urged the board to ban the sale of kratom products intended for human consumption in Monument until standards are adopted by state or federal government to protect consumers.
This year, the Center for Disease Control reported 91 deaths between 2016-2017 in which kratom was listed as the cause in data collected from 32 states, Hudson said.
The Food and Drug Administration has issued warnings about the use of kratom after receiving reports the supplement may contain properties which leave users at risk of addiction and abuse. Though kratom is not approved by the FDA, it is legal to possess in Colorado.
During public comment, John Marshall, a Palmer Lake resident who has lived in the Tri-Lakes area for 40 years, gave his testimony as a user of kratom for pain management. Marshall said he suffers from degenerative disc disease, which is progressive and chronic, and has not taken a pain pill in two years because of his daily kratom regimen. Marshall said an ordinance banning the sale of kratom would not keep an adult from accessing it, and most of the research he has done indicates where kratom was listed as a cause of death it has been in combination with other drugs.
“Kratom is not addictive any more than coffee would be,” Marshall said. “It’s nice to have something available that is essentially an herb. I think it has suffered a lot of misinformation.”
Trustee Ron Stephens made the motion for the change to a non-emergency ordinance. He said it’s important to allow any stores in town that sell kratom products have an opportunity to comply with the ordinance within 30 days of publication.
“I think the appropriate thing is to restrict the sale of kratom,” Stephens said. “We aren’t restricting the use. We aren’t trying to stop someone who is legitimately getting help, but at the same time we are setting a standard that we aren’t just putting it up on the shelves for kids to go through the stores and say ‘Oh, let’s try this.’”
Trustee Greg Coopman made the motion to remove the phrase “for human consumption” from the ordinance and to simply have it prohibit the retail sale of kratom in town. With the amendments, the ordinance passed 5-2, with trustee Laurie Clark and Mayor Don Wilson dissenting.
In May the Board of Trustees approved a temporary six-month ban on issuing licenses to businesses wanting to sell kratom. Last week’s ordinance approval coincided with the end of that ban.