— A group of Republican lawmakers is renewing a push to legalize kratom, and at least one law enforcement group has backed off its opposition to the drug some tout for its ability to relieve pain and aid in recovering from opioid addiction.
The bill, AB 393, spearheaded by Rep. Dave Murphy, R-Greenville, and the American Kratom Association, seeks to legalize and regulate kratom in Wisconsin. Kratom is a plant-based drug most commonly used to treat pain and opioid withdrawal. A similar bill was struck down in 2021 after united opposition by law enforcement groups.
“I believe the bill will pass with bipartisan support, and I’m optimistic the governor will sign it,” Rep. Murphy told WisPolitics regarding the current bill.
Bill co-sponsor Sen. Rachael Cabral-Guevera, R-Appleton, told WisPolitics she is planning on soon introducing a companion bill in the Senate.
When asked about the possibility of a Senate floor vote, she said: “I have seen a renewed push, which I believe can move the needle.”
One law enforcement group is stepping back from its previous opposition to the bill, saying that’s the job of health care experts and lawmakers. The State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, which lobbied against the 2021 bill, has adopted a neutral stance against the current bill.
The group’s president, Ryan Windorff, in an interview with WisPolitics said he rarely hears of or sees kratom-related crimes. He said his organization will not comment on the current bill because it is outside their area of expertise. He hopes lawmakers consider the medical input and make an informed decision that is in the public’s best interest.
“We depend on the Legislature to make informed decisions on what’s best,” he said.