July 1st, 2019
Mac Haddow, Senior Fellow on Public Policy
The Minister of Health in Indonesia has issued a regulation that bans kratom in Indonesia, including growing of kratom plants and exporting kratom raw material from Indonesia. The regulation provides a 5-year transition period for kratom growers to shift to another crop. The Ministry of Agriculture has sent a document in the past week to various Ministry’s in the Indonesian government recommending the ban on kratom is formalized at all levels of government.
The impact of this ban in Indonesia is potentially crippling for kratom consumers in the United States given that 95% of the world’s supply of kratom originates in Indonesia.
Some kratom advocates in the United States have received conflicting information about this regulation and have questioned whether the ban by the Ministry of Health is really in effect. The confusion is understandable given the way the Indonesian government operates, but there should be no doubt the regulation has been issued.
Last month, the AKA sent a Delegation to Indonesia that included former Congressman Matt Salmon (Arizona); Utah State Senator Curt Bramble (Utah); Jack Henningfield, Ph.D., and me to meet with Indonesian officials. The Ministry of Health senior staff confirmed the regulation had been issued, and they parroted the FDA claims about the safety and addiction liability of kratom. Despite the detailed explanation of the science that supports kratom and compelling data presented by Dr. Henningfield, the Ministry of Health simply acknowledged the information and invited a continued dialogue but offered no commitment to rescind or review the regulation that had been issued to ban kratom.
A member of the People’s Representative Council of the Republic of Indonesia expressed surprise at the decision by the Ministry of Health to ban kratom and vowed to help in having the ban lifted. Officials at the Ministry of Trade and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed support for the continued legality of kratom.
The AKA believes it is critically important that this regulation is lifted so that kratom growers in Indonesia do not convert their land to other crops. A second trip to Indonesia is planned in July to engage top Indonesian officials on the importance of maintaining a safe and legal export channel for kratom raw material into the United States.
In a June 30, 2019 news report Deputy Chairperson of the House of Representatives Commission IV, Daniel Johan, stated he was furious with the government’s plan to ban kratom leaves.
AKA views this as an encouraging report given that other Indonesian government officials are now challenging the ban issued by the Ministry of Health, and we are committed to providing Indonesian officials the convincing evidence on the safety profile of kratom and its continued value as an economic driver for Indonesia’s economy.
AKA is working with the Botanical Education Alliance (BEA) and responsible U.S. vendors to coordinate an advocacy campaign to work with officials in the Indonesian government to protect a secure export channel for safe kratom for the benefit of kratom consumers in the United States.