Is kratom legal in California?
In California, the legality of kratom is not as straightforward as some of the other states. While California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, and many Californians care about herbal medicines, its inhabitants have mixed views on kratom.
Kratom is legal in California in all parts except the city of San Diego. You cannot drive through the city of San Diego with kratom in your car, or possess it, even if you’re from a different part of California.
History of kratom legality in California
In 2016, San Diego listed kratom as a Schedule I drug, citing its alkaloid mitragynine as an illegal “Novel Psychoactive Drug'' in their ordinance, along with synthetic marijuana and bath salts. This is scientifically inaccurate; kratom is 0% synthetic, as it’s a completely natural plant, which is in fact related to the coffee plant.
Furthermore, researchers at the University of Rochester found no scientific basis for claims that kratom causes psychosis, and their study provided no data to indicate that kratom is a public health problem.
Why is Kratom Illegal in San Diego?
So, why did San Diego ban kratom? Their reasoning is that there’s not enough evidence to believe that it’s safe, despite the 10 to 15 million people who use kratom as an herbal alternative to prescription medication to treat anxiety, pain, addiction and more.
When the DEA put a temporary ban on kratom in 2016, San Diego got on board, and maintained the ban even when the DEA repealed its decision less than two months later, due to receiving more than 23,000 comments during the 6-week comment period from people against the ban.
Despite the fact that leading scientists have spoken up, claiming that there is not enough credible data and science to justify categorizing kratom as a Schedule I substance, San Diego didn’t repeal their kratom ban.
Kratom Legality in San Diego County
Kratom is legal in the rest of California, as well as the surrounding cities within San Diego County. So if you live in La Jolla, Carlsbad, La Mesa, Oceanside, Pine Valley, Santee, San Marcos, or anywhere except San Diego city, you can buy and sell kratom.
In 2020, San Diego considered declaring kratom a “public nuisance” and considered banning kratom, but after hearing from nearly two dozen speakers who said kratom eased their chronic pain and other health problems, the board voted against the declaration.
How You Can Help Legalize Kratom in San Diego
Even if you live in a part of California or another state where kratom is legal, it’s important to advocate for kratom to avoid a potential Federal ban on kratom. People rely on kratom as an herbal treatment, and they shouldn’t be prevented from using kratom simply because state leaders don’t know enough about it (one board member voting on the 2020 San Diego County declaration said “A week ago you could have asked me about kratom, and I would have thought it's a popular rapper.” ).
To help make kratom legal in San Diego, you can find the contact info for the city’s elected officials and share your thoughts and feelings about kratom. Encourage others to speak up as well; even if they don’t use kratom, it’s important to stand up for kratom as a potential alternative to opioid prescriptions. Kratom saves lives.
- La Jolla
- La Mesa
- Pine Valley
- San Marcos