City bans sale of synthetic Kratom products effective immediately

Published 10:18 am Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Following a proposed ordinance and a first reading of the ordinance earlier this summer, Oxford’s Board of Aldermen voted to ban the sale of synthetic Kratom products within city limits.

The vote came during the Aug. 6 meeting, following a second reading and a public hearing, during which no one spoke for or against the ban.

When a new law is voted in by the Board, there is usually a 30-day period before it takes effect following the mayor’s signing off. The Board waived that process and voted the ban go into effect immediately, citing safety concerns.

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Interim Oxford Police chief Jeff McCutchen proposed the ban during the Board’s May 7 meeting, but the issue was tabled after Alderman Mark Huelse said he wanted to take more time to look into Kratom and speak with someone in the medical field. The first reading of the ordinance was then held during the July 16 meeting, before being voted into law last week.

“When you look at any of the information that comes out on this product, even if it’s pro-Kratom, pro-product, it will tell you it’s dose-sensitive,” McCutchen said. “The biggest issue that you will find with this, and even came out in our product testing, was there was a substance inside this product that they were unable to determine what it might have been.”

McCutchen stated the product has been recalled “multiple times” for salmonella, citing a lack of government regulation on the product. OPD is wanting to regulate the local sale of the product, he said, and not the medical use prescribed by a doctor.

There was a case in April, during which OPD responded to a death where Kratom was a “contributing factor,” according to McCutchen, who cited the medical examiner’s report which had 18 nanograms per milliliter in the victim’s system. At the bottom of the medical examiner’s report, McCutchen said there was a notation stating “20 to 600 nanograms” per milliliter is a fatal dose.

“You won’t be able to walk into the store and determine what doses you’re getting,” McCutchen said. “It’s not regulated. They don’t know how it interacts with other medication. They don’t know it interacts when heat hits it. There’s just a lot of unknowns, and I think we can do a good job of protecting our citizens from the products that you see on the shelves.”

The ban went into effect immediately last week, but stores had until this past Saturday to stop selling the product and get it off their shelves before being hit with any citations by enforcement officers.