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Kratom Removed From Arizona's Banned-Drug Proposal

Kratom probably won't be added to Arizona's list of banned drugs after all.

Kratom, an herb with painkilling properties, has been for sale legally in certain stores around Phoenix for several years now, but the annual proposed update of Arizona's banned-drugs list originally included two substances found exclusively in the kratom plant.

See also:
-Kratom: Some Say the Latest "Legal Drug" Is a Harmless Herbal Tonic
-Kratom Could Become the Newest Illegal Drug in Arizona

Many advocates of kratom were aware of the proposal to ban the substances in Arizona, and although New Times sent a message to the bill's sponsor, Republican Representative Eddie Farnsworth, seeking an explanation for adding kratom to the list, he didn't provide one.

However, Farnsworth proposed an amendment Thursday in the House Judiciary Committee (which he chairs) to remove the kratom-related substances from the list, which includes about 40 other substances to be banned.

The committee voted in favor of the amendment, so kratom will remain legal in Arizona for now.

Most states don't have laws against possessing kratom, but a few do, as do a few countries.

But there are people who swear by the plant. In a 2011 New Times story, kratom users touted its qualities as a painkiller, or as a way to overcome addiction to pharmaceutical painkillers.

A DEA evaluation states there's "no legitimate medical use" for kratom (realize that the same agency claims there's no accepted medical use of marijuana, either).

As for the rest of the approximately 40 substances still proposed to be added to the banned-drugs list, many of them are so-called designer drugs, wherein the structures of more well-known drugs are tweaked, many times in an effort to skirt drug laws.

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These bills in Arizona banning the new drugs have been met with no resistance or real hesitation by legislators in recent years, so there's an extremely high likelihood of this bill passing.

In the 2012 and 2013 versions of the bill, all the votes have been unanimous in every committee and every floor vote in the House and Senate. Governor Jan Brewer signed both bills, which had emergency clauses, meaning they became effective immediately.

This year's bill, House Bill 2453, was unanimously approved by the House Judiciary Committee yesterday.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.

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