Gov. Jim Justice signed into law Senate Bill 220, the Industrial Hemp Development Act, which includes the Select Plant-Derived Regulation Act: Kratom.
The bill will officially go in effect June 9.
In addition to regulations for hemp-derived cannabinoid products like Delta-8, the legislation allows for limited regulated assess to kratom for adults 21 years and older.
Kratom is an herbal substance that can produce opioid- and stimulant-like effects. Kratom and kratom-based products are currently legal and accessible in many areas, according to information from the National Institutes of Health.
Kratom products are made from the crushed or powdered leaves of the mitragyna speciosa, a yellow-flowered tropical tree, which contains the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
Justice commented on SB 220 during his virtual press breifing Wednesday.
The bill gives the state the ability to “monitor, regulate and everything else things that are being sold in our convenience stores or wherever it may be to little teeny kids with absolutely no age requirement that can really, possibly take a life,” Justice said.
The American Kratom Association, a national group which advocates for consumers and their right to use kratom for health purposes, released a statement praising the legislation.
“Passing (this legislation) in West Virginia is representative of state lawmakers embracing science, public health and data,” said Mac Haddow, the AKA’s Senior Fellow for Public Policy. “Their adoption of forward-thinking measures like the KCPA ensure kratom consumers can access safe, registered and tested products.”
SB 220 gives the West Virginia commissioner of Agriculture the authority to propose rules for the regulation of kratom and kratom products in the state.
These include: the issuance of permits to persons who wish to manufacture, process, distribute, offer for sale, or sell kratom; sampling and testing of kratom to determine purity levels; and the supervision of kratom during its manufacture, processing, and sale.
The commissioner of Agriculture also will be tasked with developing standards for the labeling of kratom products, including procedures for ensuring the products are not marketed to children.
These products will be required to carry a warning label, which “at a minimum” must say: “KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN. CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN BEFORE USE IF YOU ARE PREGNANT OR TAKING ANY MEDICATION,” according to the text of the bill.