The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced August 31 that they plan to ban kratom in the United States as of September 30, causing panic and outrage to the thousands who use the leaves, which are closely related in makeup to the coffee plant. They’re specifically looking to outlaw the compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine found in in the herb.

Users of the plant argue that there is nothing addictive or negative about the plant, and say it has helped them with such things as pain, anxiety and overcoming addiction to dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.

According to Dale Jerue of the United Kratom Association, “Found primarily in South East Asia, kratom is a relative to the coffee tree. The pain relief effects found in kratom are produced by alkaloids found in the leaves. Historically, because of its reported analgesic and energizing effects kratom was used for centuries by farmers and tribes people in the region.”

Heavy caught up with the DEA to find out if the ban is moving forward.

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