State Sen. Pam Helming says her legislation has the support of the Senate, but so far, no go with the Assembly
CANANDAIGUA — State Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, is hopeful that someday, a ban on the sale of kratom to individuals under the age of 21 will be enacted in New York.
But not this year.
The kratom legislation that she co-sponsors passed the Senate this year, as did nearly identical legislation a year ago (her legislation then proposed a ban on the sale of kratom to individuals under the age of 18).
Neither of these bills came up for a vote in the Assembly, Helming noted.
For nearly three years, Helming said she has spoken with officials in law enforcement, emergency services, public health, education, prevention and treatment services, and other areas, as well as individuals and families struggling with addiction.
“The addiction crisis continues to plague our communities and devastate our families, and we must work together as a community to find solutions to address this problem,” Helming said in a prepared statement. “Since learning about the possible risks of kratom during the two Tall Cop Says Stop presentations in our community, I have heard growing concern over the potential risks of using kratom because of its similarities to heroin and opioids. It is important that we regulate and control its sale to minors until we know more about its potential dangers.”
The bipartisan legislation is an indication that the addiction crisis is being taken seriously by state government.
“I was hopeful that this would be the year the Assembly brought this important legislation to the floor for a vote,” Helming said in the statement. “I want to thank my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for passing this critical legislation in the Senate and urge the governor and our counterparts in the Assembly to support it next year.”
Kratom is an opioid-like plant, and it is typically sold as tea leaves, in powder or pill form, for muscle relaxation, to fight fatigue, and as an antidepressant.
According to information from Helming’s office, the Drug Enforcement Administration lists it as a drug of concern with no medicinal value. Also, the Food and Drug Administration compares kratom to morphine in its risks for addiction, abuse, and dependence. Several FDA studies are continuing to evaluate the scientific information on kratom, but the FDA warns consumers to not use any products containing kratom until it is better understood.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, kratom was listed as the cause of death for 91 individuals out of 152 who tested positive for kratom between July 2016 and December 2017.
Under this legislation, a person who sells kratom to individuals under 21 would face up to a $500 fine.
Suffolk County already bans sales of kratom to individuals under 21, and New York state should follow suit to protect individuals from this substance, Helming said.
Tennessee also bans sales of kratom to individuals under 21, while New Hampshire and Illinois ban sales of kratom to individuals under 18. Sales of kratom are banned in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Vermont, Rhode Island, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.
The executive committee of the Allegany County Democratic Committee is the latest to announce its endorsement of Tracy Mitrano in her second bid to unseat Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, in the 23rd Congressional District in 2020.
Mitrano, who ran unsuccessfully against Reed last year, has also picked up endorsements from the Yates, Schuyler, and Steuben County Democratic committees and the Chautauqua County Democratic Executive Committee.
Her focus on clean water and the environment may be reasons behind the endorsements.
Mitrano will join several local residents and experts in lake health and watershed stewardship at 1 p.m. July 20 for a hike of the Keuka Lake Outlet trail, according to The Chronicle-Express, a fellow GateHouse Media publication in Penn Yan. The walk will begin at the Penn Yan Village Elm Street Sports Complex, 360 Elm St., Penn Yan, and end at the trailhead on Seneca Street in Dresden, shortly before toasting the beauty and utilty of the Finger Lakes at the Dresden Hotel, 76 Main St.
In between, they will be talking about water quality in Seneca and Keuka lakes, the significance of the outlet, and how watershed preservation intersects with agriculture and tourism.