A state House committee will hold its first hearing this week on a bill to regulate the sale and use of a controversial herbal supplement.
The herbal product kratom is made from leaves that grow on the tropical kratom tree native to southeast Asia, and is often sold as a tea or a powder.
It has been banned in at least half a dozen states. Alabama places it in the same category as heroin.
The US Food and Drug Administration has not outlawed kratom while it’s being studied, but the agency has warned against its use because it could be addictive.
But some researchers say it can be a useful treatment for opioid addiction. “We’d like to see it regulated so those that choose to purchase and consume it know what they’re taking, know how to take it, and know potential side effects,” said Michigan Representative Lori Stone, a Democrat from Warren.