MONUMENT – The Board of Trustees here not only granted Police Chief Jacob Shirk’s request for a 90-day moratorium on licensing businesses that intend to sell kratom, they doubled it on a unanimous vote. The southeast Asian plant will not be able to be sold by any new businesses for the next six months.
As surprising at it may sound, that doesn’t bother Matthew Frank, CEO of Laughing Lion Herbs, whose application to expand his kratom and CBD business from just outside town limits and into Monument was the impetus for the Chief’s request for the emergency ordinance preventing dedicated kratom businesses.
Kratom has generated increasing attention recently. In 2017, Denver banned the sale of it for purposes of human consumption. Castle Rock currently is in the midst of a moratorium similar to Monument’s. Kratom is banned in six states and other cities and towns across the country. The unregulated leaf product, which is consumed as pills or powdered drink mixes, among other uses, is touted by many users as a saving grace for pain relief, anxiety abatement, and even an effective cure from opioid addiction. But critics worry about potential addictive characteristics of kratom, psychotropic side effects, and difficulty of withdrawal for those who quit kratom.
“This allows us to do more research, talk to DEA, talk to FDA, talk to the kratom group, find out exactly what it is because we’re uncertain,” Shirk said. Frank agrees that more research is necessary to establish the industry’s credibility, and he supports the moratorium. “I think they should do a moratorium, even though I’m the one that wants to put a business in the Town of Monument,” Frank said. “I’m willing to wait.”
Frank says establishing a regulatory framework for kratom will allow cities and states to be better informed about whether they want to allow it, and will ensure operators are legitimate. “Batch-tracking on everything that’s brought in, third-party lab testing to ensure it’s safe, the cleanliness, having the clean rooms and having all the checks and balances in place,” Frank said.