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Supervisors discuss kratom ban for the county

Kratom was once again a major discussion point at the Pearl River County Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Daniel Wise, a private citizen, told the board he had observed the previous news coverage that indicated the Board of Supervisors were taking action to have an ordinance put in place to ban Kratom in the county. Wise gave an account of his recovery from shoulder surgery and how Kratom helped him through recovery.

He said he was offered opioid based pain medicine to assist him with sleep after his surgery, but he opted instead to use kratom after doing some research. Wise said he did not like the way pain pills made him feel and had observed people getting addicted to opioid pain pills, including instances in his own family. He said he purchased his kratom online from a reputable, out of state provider. One of the issues with kratom has been retailers mixing other substances with it.

Wise said he had no financial gain on whatever the county decides to do on Kratom. He said is concerned when he sees government interfere with a free market economy.

District 1 Supervisor Donald Hart said while he can’t say exactly what residents are using in the form of drugs, but he is very concerned.

“I see these guys on the streets at different places, no shirts, pacing back and forth, laying on the ground, and wollering in the grass. I’ve had occur a couple of times when they tried to get in my shop (barber shop) with my customers, and I locked the door because I can’t let my customers be exposed to something like that,” Hart stated.

“I don’t know what they are on, but I didn’t see this happen until we starting seeing these things at the counters in the convenience stores.”

District 3 Supervisor Hudson Holliday stated one of his concerns on kratom is access to it, particularly young people.

“There’s no age limit. Anyone can walk into a convenience store and say ‘I want a bottle of that’. I don’t know how many people go in there, and this becomes their first experience, and they could venture into drug trafficking,” Holliday said.

Holliday stated that he read that there is not a test that law enforcement can run to check one’s blood or urine to determine if someone had kratom onboard. He said that he doesn’t think authorities really know how many people may have been killed in vehicle accidents that could have been under the influence of kratom.

Holliday added, “It’s a mind altering chemical.”

Board Vice President and District 4 Supervisor Jason Spence is concerned about the absence of guidance.

“There is nothing in place to say when to use, how much to use, what is too much. It seems like it is a synthetic opiod, but yet we don’t have opiods on the open market.”

Holliday later said that he does not want to agree to a motion for an ordinance unless both cities (Picayune and Poplarville) agree to it. Board attorney Joe Montgomery said he had sent copies of a proposed ordinance to the attorneys for both Picayune and Poplarville.

Board President and District 5 Supervisor Sandy Kane Smith said that he agreed with Holliday and without the cities being on board, enforcement would be impossible. Smith said he and District 2 Supervisor Malcolm Perry had spoken to the police chiefs of Picayune and Poplarville and they supported a ban of kratom. Sheriff David Allison was present at the board meeting and voiced his support of the ban also.

In Mississippi, research shows that ten counties and twenty-tree cities have have criminalized kratom.

According to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration website, Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. Consumption of its leaves produces both stimulant effects (in low doses) and sedative effects (in high doses), and can lead to psychotic symptoms, and psychological and physiological dependence.

Kratom leaves are crushed and then smoked, brewed with tea, or placed into gel capsules. Kratom has a long history of use in Southeast Asia. In the U.S., the abuse of kratom has increased markedly in recent years.


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