SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The Louisiana Legislature will decide whether to add two substances to Schedule I of the Controlled Dangerous Substances law, which currently can be purchased in many businesses licensed to sell tobacco products.

The pre-filed bill, HB14, was submitted by Louisiana State Representative Michael Firment, whose districts cover parts of the central and northern regions of the state. The bill is co-sponsored by Representative Kathy Edmonston, who represents Ascension Parish.

Act 231 would make mitragyna speciosa or the herb known as kratom, a Schedule I narcotic if and when the United States Drug Enforcement Agency classified it as a controlled and dangerous substance.

Fermints’ bill also calls to “repeal the crime of unlawful distribution of products containing mitragyna speciosa to minors.” Under the current law, violators are fined up to $500, imprisoned for up to six months, or both.

HB14 would repeal the present law and add mitragynine and 7-hydroxy mitragynine to the list of Schedule I narcotics unless the herb is contained in a pharmaceutical product.

Adding kratom to Schedule I would outlaw the sale of the drug to anyone unless it was prescribed as a pharmaceutical, which is why the law specific to selling kratom to minors would get repealed with the passage of HB14.

Those using kratom claim that the herb provides an energy boost, enhances mood, provides pain relief, and can be an antidote for opioid withdrawal. Still, medical experts say the drug is unsafe and ineffective.

A DEA fact drug sheet indicates that higher dosages of kratom could lead the user to have psychotic episodes and psychological and physiological dependence.

The 2023 session of the Louisiana Legislature starts Monday, April 10.