The move comes after an impassioned Internet-based protest by a decentralized network of advocates and activists who contend the southeast Asian plant has tremendous medicinal value. While not a permanent ruling, the reversal is extremely unusual for the government agency, which is known for aggressive enforcement of its drug policies.
DEA spokesperson Melvin Patterson confirmed that the intense public reaction fueled the decision. "That was eye-opening for me personally," he said."I want the kratom community to know that the DEA does hear them. Our goal is to make sure this is available to all of them."
The suspension will allow for an extended timetable for public feedback and further analysis. This will include an evaluation of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A small team of government scientists will now determine whether Americans are allowed to use a curative herbal remedy that has been safely ingested for thousands of years.