For centuries, the Kratom plant—Mitragyna Speciosa—has been celebrated for its incredible abilities to enhance wellness and support well-being.
What native people in southeast Asia have known for hundreds of years is now quickly becoming newsworthy in the United States, Canada, and in other countries throughout the world: Kratom powder is a natural, effective, plant-based substance that genuinely improves the lives of the people who use it.
Granting the immense popularity of Kratom in the recent decade or so here in the west, it’s not too surprising that there’s been plenty of misinformation surrounding it. Fear and stigma about Kratom has even influenced broad-reaching legislation aimed at criminalizing the purchase, possession, and sale of Kratom or Kratom-derived products.
Because of the controversy that besets Kratom as a nutritional botanical here in the USA, advocates of the plant are organizing and engaging in political action intended to shed light on the truth about Kratom and its potential as a powerful wellness enhancer used by millions.
One organization that is dedicated to the free and public dissemination of Kratom-related facts, studies, and user anecdotes is the American Kratom Association, a collective of passionate individuals working tirelessly to spread the good word about Kratom and to confront half-truths head-on.
In this article, Kats Botanicals is exploring the mission of the AKA, their purpose as a politically oriented organization, and the role they play in continuing the conversation about Kratom, its uses, and its safety profile.
The AKAs Stated Goals and Activities
Before anything else, the American Kratom Association bills itself as a consumer advocacy group that represents the estimated 15 million Kratom consumers in the United States. The organization was established in 2014, and their stated goal is to “restore full consumer access to kratom and to preserve and protect the freedom of consumers in the United States to make their own choices about their well-being and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.”
If public reception is any indication of the AKAs success, the numbers are impressive. As of the publication of this article, the AKAs Facebook Group is followed by more than 63,000 people, its Twitter account has nearly 12,000 followers, and its Instagram account has nearly 11,000 followers.
A quick trip to the AKA website reveals a slew of public education tools including a Kratom-specific forum where consumers, public figures, and other Kratom advocates share ideas and promote truth in communication about this incredible plant.
The AKA is governed by a curated Board of Directors whose objective is to oversee the mission, policies, and programs executed on behalf of the organization by the Executive Director and staff.
These board members include:
- Rep. Matt Salmon. After representing the 5th District of Arizona for five terms in Washington, Matt Salmon joined the AKA as its Board of Directors Chairman.Among other political feats Rep. Salmon is known for, he is most lauded for leading a 2016 opposition to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s recommendation of scheduling Kratom as a controlled substance on a national level. It is widely believed that this recommendation, were it to have been successful, would have resulted in a federally imposed, nationwide ban on Kratom.Salmon’s efforts to persuade the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to withdraw the Federal Register Notice was considered a massive step forward in protecting Kratom for use by those in the US.
- Chris Bake. A former marketing executive for CSB Marketing and Management Corporation, Chris has spent the past 15 years involved in Kratom-related fundraising, partnership development, and creative solutions tailored to supporting the Kratom community.
- Peter Candland. Peter is the Executive Director of the American Kratom Association. His main role is to manage the day-to-day activities of the organization and to provide input on key strategic decisions made by other executive staff members.
In addition to the Board of Directors, the AKA has representatives in numerous US states where localized Kratom-related activities are organized and executed. In 2020, there are more than 25 US states where the AKA is actively pursuing legislative protection for Kratom and its users.
American Kratom Association’s Core Functions
The AKA’s activities as a coordinated group go much further than just handing out flyers and writing letters to legislators.
Broadly speaking, the American Kratom Association participates in six main categories of Kratom-related activities. They are Consumer Advocacy, Collation of Science-backed Data, Kratom Policy Analysis, Fundraising, Establishment of Good Manufacturing Practices, and Media Development.
Perhaps most critical to its foundations as a Kratom organization, the AKA operates as a platform for Kratom advocates to share information, prompt political action, and engage in discussions about Kratom no matter where they live.
Without the AKA, proponents of Kratom wouldn’t have a unified voice, and their stories of the life-changing benefits of Kratom would largely go unheard. Furthermore, because of the AKA’s constant efforts at providing key updates about Kratom’s status as a controlled substance in the United States, Kratom consumers know where Kratom stands in localized battles to keep it available and legal for those who rely on it every day.
Organizing in-person discussions about Kratom is another important aspect of the AKA’s consumer advocacy activities. Every year, dozens of Kratom-related conferences are organized by the AKA and held in key geographic locations where the legal status of this plant is in question.
Collation of Science-Backed Data
For anyone who questions the scientific data that supports Kratom’s public health risk profile, the American Kratom Association has plenty of information to consider.
Over the years, the AKA has collated a list of peer-reviewed publications that speaks directly to the usefulness of Kratom as a nutritional supplement with immense value for people with a wide spectrum of life challenges.
This trove of scientific information continues to be added to as more and more science-backed data about Kratom is made available.
Kratom Policy Analysis
At any given time, the legal status of Kratom can be secure, challenged, or outright changed through swift legislation. For this reason, the AKA keeps their finger on the pulse of every US state’s legal classification of Kratom.
Whenever there are potential changes being considered, the AKA springs into action by mobilizing advocates in the area, spreading fact-based information about Kratom, and serving as a resource for public officials in the fight to keep Kratom available and accessible.
It’s important to remember that the American Kratom Association is a 501 c(4) organization.
By definition and in accordance with the Internal Revenue Service, this means that the AKA must not be organized for profit and must be operated exclusively to promote social welfare.
To keep the organization in operation and to keep the status of Kratom open and free of legal constraints, the AKA participates in numerous quarterly and annual fundraising events administered locally and nationally.
Establishment of Current Good Manufacturing Practices
A crucial part of the AKA strategy involves ensuring that clean, unadulterated Kratom is available to those who want it.
On a federal level, the US government (by way of the FDA) does this through the development of Good Manufacturing Practices tailored to the nutritional supplement, medical device, and cosmetics industries.
What the AKA has done is adopt much of what the FDA has already created in terms of how best to manage raw materials, how to process them, and how to control manufacturing processes in a way that reduces the inclusion of pathogens and heavy metals as much as possible.
This is known as the American Kratom Association’s Current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) program: a suite of guidelines that are specific to Kratom suppliers selling Kratom power, capsules, and other Kratom-derived products to US consumers.
[Kats Botanicals is proud to be one of the select few Kratom suppliers that meets or exceeds the regulations stipulated by the AKA’s cGMP program. This ‘seal of approval’ gives our customers the peace of mind they want when choosing a reputable, reliable supplier of premium Kratom products.]
Lastly, the American Kratom Association engages in the thoughtful, fact-backed development of media that supports those who fight for Kratom every day. This media is composed of informational articles, videos, interviews with medical professionals, Kratom users, and politicians, congressional briefings, press releases, and more.
The AKA of Today and Tomorrow
Wherever there are people whose lives have been changed for the better through the use of the Kratom plant, there will be a need for protection of Kratom.
It’s safe to say that without the American Kratom Association, Kratom users, suppliers, and other advocates would have a much harder time networking with each other and enabling a national conversation about the powerful benefits of the Kratom plant.
Kats Botanicals is an ardent supporter of the American Kratom Association and its multipart efforts to protect Kratom and to remain a wellspring of information and encouragement for Kratom advocates.
Our customers believe in us because they believe in Kratom. We celebrate the AKA, and we will continue to support their cause today, tomorrow, and well into the future.
To support the American Kratom Association directly, visit the donation page located here.