The feds have now backed off their plan to ban kratom, a plant that some say eases pain and anxiety.
Last month, the DEA re-classified the plant as a schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as heroin and LSD. But, they now say they'll give the FDA more time to study it.
Sean Simpson owns the Low Tide Kava Bar in Gulfport. For two weeks he stopped serving kratom tea, because of the DEA ban, but now it's back on the menu. "All the people that I've seen it really truly help has changed their life... that's why I knew I needed to fight."
The people here drink kratom for various reasons. Matt Wright is the general manager at Low Tide Kava Bar. "I was an alcoholic and then I started drinking kratom and I haven't had a drink in over two years."
Many, like Jacqlyn Titus, say it replaces expensive and sometimes dangerous medications. "I work in healthcare, so I have a lot of foot pain and knee pain and back pain. And you know I don't have to take anything, I just drink a little bit of tea."
Many kratom users were afraid they would have to go back to prescription medications, but now they are relieved. "It's definitely unexpected. I didn't think a powerhouse like the DEA was going to rescind a decision like that," said Titus.
Several people from Low Tide Kava Bar actually went to a rally in Washington, D.C. several weeks ago to fight to keep kratom legal. With this decision, they say now they realize that every voice counts.
Wright was on that trip. "Absolutely, I think this shows that a small community of voices can get together and change things for the better."
Simpson went too. "The truth prevailed...at least for now."
The DEA plans to re-evaluate the status of kratom in December.
The DEA has opened a formal comment period and wants to hear your thoughts for or against kratom.
To comment, visit the website for the Office of the Federal Register by clicking HERE.