September 13, 2019
St. Charles County, Missouri — St. Charles County Executive Steve Ehlmann has allowed amended Substitute Bill 4721, which approves regulation of the sale of kratom and related products in the county, to pass without his signature. The County Council voted to pass the bill at the Aug. 26 Council meeting and it has been awaiting final approval from Ehlmann.
The County Executive informed the Council of his decision yesterday in a memo, stating that while the amended bill made important changes that address his objections to the original bill, he continues to have concerns about kratom use. Kratom is a plant that grows in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea which advocates say offers pain relief.
“My biggest concern,” County Executive Ehlmann says, “is that the public may conclude that the County, since it has not banned kratom, has determined that it is safe to use. People need to understand that the bill simply prohibits its sale to those under 18 years of age and provides basic consumer protections for buyers, so they know what they are purchasing, the source of the product, health warnings and that the product lacks regulatory standards for manufacturing and dosing.”
County Executive Ehlmann cites two press releases from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), regarding concern over risks associated with the use of Kratom and one with a warning that “the extremely high rates of contamination of kratom products with salmonella have resulted in numerous illnesses and recalls.” One release also states that disturbingly high levels of heavy metals were found in kratom products. The news releases were published April 3, 2019 and Feb. 21, 2018, indicating the FDA’s extensive research on the topic. The latest warning from the FDA about kratom is published on its website.
Advertisements for new products or treatments often include the authorization “FDA approved,” Ehlmann says in his Council memo. “We need to make it clear to everyone that kratom is not St. Charles County approved by passage of this bill. While amended Substitute Bill 4721 is helpful, I would have preferred going further – as have the five states that have banned kratom – or waiting for more research before taking a position.”