Georgia legislators declined to move forward Monday with a bill that would have banned kratom, a mostly unregulated herb that several people blamed for contributing to the deaths of their family members.
Other people in the packed hearing at the Georgia Capitol told lawmakers that kratom helps ease their pain and anxiety, saying it would be better to require accurate ingredient labeling and enforcement of violations rather than make the product illegal.
The House Judiciary Non-Civil Committee voted unanimously to table the measure, House Bill 181. Legislators said they would work on revising the bill for potential future consideration.
Kraton comes from the leaves of a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia and is consumed through capsules, powders and liquids as an aid for pain, anxiety and drug dependence. It’s sold at gas stations and smoke shops across Georgia.
“It’s buyer beware. Good people are getting hurt, and we’ve got to stop that,” said state Rep. Rick Townsend, a Republican from Brunswick who introduced the bill. “This is a dangerous situation.”