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Under new Florida law, kratom will only be sold to people 21 and older

Gov. DeSantis signed House Bill 179 making it so those under 21 cannot buy kratom.

TAMPA, Fla. — On the presidential campaign trail Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a number of new bills into law. One, in particular, is called the Kratom Consumer Protections Act

The new law will make it a misdemeanor to sell kratom to anyone under 21 years old.

Kratom is a type of tree in the coffee family that is native to Thailand. It's an herbal substance often consumed in tea and can produce opioid and stimulant-like effects, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says.

"Kratom in general is in the family of coffee. It’s a coffee plant. It’s cousin to coffee," the CEO and Founder of Fusion Botanicals, Adam Miller, said. His products are sold in Tampa at Cali’s Smoke Shop & Kratom Bar.

While kratom is in the same family as coffee, the rules are now different than coffee. Those younger than 21 in Florida can’t buy kratom under the new law. There are dozens of shops that sell kratom across the Tampa Bay area. 

"Kratom, in my personal opinion is a miracle plant, and I say that not only from its healing properties, but medicinal," Miller stated.

As the founder of a kratom manufacturer here in Florida, Miller said he has seen how kratom has helped former addicts.

"It helps people come off different types of narcotics, opioids, different alcohol outlets," Miller stated.

Miller said depending on the strain, it will affect how you feel.

"White kratom is great for energy for mood boost. Green kratom is good for mild relaxation," he explained. "Red is for bed, so you want to consume red when you want deep relaxation."

Kratom comes in powder, capsules and on tap. Wolves Den Smoke Shop in Tampa serves it all. Eric Jay Rodriguez is the assistant manager at Wolves Den Smoke Shop and stated, "Doses are important, quantity is important."

The Florida Department of Health warns kratom has opioid-like features, meaning it can be addictive. Officials also warn kratom can interact with prescription medications.

"It’s nice to see a little bit of regulation into it," Rodriguez stated.

Those who manage smoke shops explained they make sure to discuss Kratom’s potentially addictive behaviors with their customers.

"We have honest conversations with the customer saying, 'Hey, in large quantity is this can be addictive,'" Rodriguez stated. 

Miller drinks kratom daily and stated for him, it’s like a cup of coffee.

"Why is kratom any different than coffee, it’s not?" Separating the two in Florida is it’s a cup only for those 21 and up who can buy.

The new law goes into effect on July 1.

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