Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Colorado Libertarians decry Denver kratom ban

Kratom Ban in Denver Ripped by Libertarian Party of Colorado | Westword - Michael Roberts:

January 23, 2018 - "In November, Denver Environmental Health issued a human-consumption ban on kratom, a plant-based substance that advocates tout as a pain reliever lacking the well-known negative effects of more powerful opioids. Now the Libertarian Party of Colorado is formally decrying the move, and the organization's spokesperson reveals that it's a very personal subject for her. After all, she's a user of kratom who believes her life would be infinitely worse if she could no longer take it.

"'Who is the government to tell me that I can't have a functional life and have to live with excruciating pain that makes me want to kill myself?' asks Caryn Ann Harlos, the Colorado LP's communications director....

"[K]ratom has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration took steps to reclassify it as a Schedule I narcotic in August 2016 before reversing course the following year. The change in approach was undoubtedly influenced by public backlash; approximately 140,000 people signed a petition to the White House opposing the DEA's proposal, and a group of 51 U.S. senators and representatives sent a letter to Chuck Rosenberg, the agency's acting head, questioning it.

"Nevertheless, the feds continued to view kratom consumption as dangerous, attributing fifteen deaths between 2014 and 2016 to its use, even though fourteen of the victims had other drugs or illegal substances in their systems when they died.... DEH didn't ban all sales of kratom, but retailers that wish to peddle it for non-consumptive purposes must affix a consumer advisory ...that states: 'This product is not intended for human consumption. Consuming kratom products may pose a risk, including death, to consumers and has addictive potential.'....

"'I have a degenerative back disorder, spinal stenosis, and I've been on and off Vicodin for fifteen years,' Harlos says.... 'But when I moved to Colorado, the federal government started cracking down on opioids, and when I'd try to get legitimate pain medication, they made me feel like a criminal'.... Harlos began looking around for pain-killing alternatives — and marijuana didn't do the trick. 'I don't like it, and it doesn't work for me,' she allows.... At that point, she goes on, 'I discovered kratom, and it worked better than Vicodin. It doesn't have any side effects. You do get a boost when you take it, but it's a boost like you get from caffeine'....

"'The national Libertarian Party is for the full legalization of drugs, period,' she stresses. 'Our position is that the government doesn't own you — that if you want to put something in your body and it's not harming others, it's not the government's business. They have no business protecting you from yourself. So even if kratom was being used recreationally, we'd oppose a ban. But kratom has obvious medical uses. It's had no downside in my life, and it's the same for other people I know who use kratom for pain management. They haven't had any issues, either.'"

Read more: http://www.westword.com/news/kratom-ban-in-denver-ripped-by-libertarian-party-of-colorado-9908252
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