SENATOBIA, Miss. — One Mid-South city has voted to "outlaw" the sale and use of a plant with potentially mind-altering affects.
Kratom is considered an opioid in some places and an aid in others. While it's illegal in Mississippi, the city of Senatobia wants it gone for good.
The Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to to ban the sale of Kratom in Senatobia beginning in 30 days. The original ordinance prohibited the use , purchase, possession, distribution and sale. Now the ordinance will just apply to sales.
An agent from the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics said there needs to be better regulation on the sale of Kratom and hopefully the legislature will address that.
Jeff Thompson works at Vapors Choice in Senatobia. It's located just a couple of block from City Hall.
Thompson says the city's proposed ordinance, banning the purchase, possession and sale of Kratom is a "shoot from the hip" reaction.
"The CDC and the FDA have not made any rulings on Kratom at this point in time," he said. "Kratom doesn't disorient you, it gives you focus. We sell a lot of CBD products, smoking accessories and Kratom."
Now that the ordinance has passed, Senatobia joins some 28 counties and cities in Mississippi that have made possession or sale of Kratom a misdemeanor. Thompson stresses he doesn't consider Kratom to be a gateway drug to opiods, but rather an alternative.
"From my experience, from my customers and people I see everyday that do use Kratom, it's the exact opposite of that. It's a gateway for people to get off opioids."
No one at Senatobia City Hall would talk about the ordinance and none of the aldermen we contacted would consent to an interview. We're told the city began considering the ordinance in April 2019 when an agent with the Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics addressed the aldermen on the state's growing concern over deaths related to the use of Kratom.
Senatobia's ordinance would also ban a number of other synthetic products.
"It's a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail for possession of Kratom in the ordinance. Your taking normal, really everyday people and putting them in the classification of being criminals."
Many residents we talked with had not heard of the ordinance.
Daryl Sellers looked over a copy of the proposed law and had a mixed reaction.
"The fines help curb the overuse of it, maybe that would help. But for the people that really need it. I feel sorry for them."