Rep. Gary Scherer (R-Circleville) is proposing a bill, HB318, that would create an inspection and certification process for companies wanting to sell Kratom, an herbal supplement commonly found in powder and capsule form.
Kratom is an herb found on trees in southeast Asia, known to be used as an alternative to coffee and for pain management. But there are no FDA-approved uses for Kratom, and there have been reports of deaths where Kratom was present.
Scherer says those deaths can be traced back to Kratom tainted with other drugs, and believes the product can be helpful as long as its regulated.
"Bad actors in the supply chain have taken advantage of the growing popularity of Kratom particularly those suffering from opioid addiction by mixing in other compounds into the plant to produce an unnatural high," Scherer said during a House committee hearing on the bill.
The bill would also limit the presence of alkaloid, bans the addition of synthetic compounds, and prohibits people younger than 18-years-old from buying Kratom. Supporters say this will help avoid an all-out ban on the product.