Is Kratom Legal in California?

Kratom has been growing in popularity in the United States, but it has faced legal challenges in a handful regions. In 2016 the City of San Diego enacted a Kratom restriction, but what about the rest of the state? In this article we explore Kratom legality in the state of California?
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February 18, 2022
5 min read

Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) has been making a positive impact in the lives of hundreds across the globe. People love Kratom because it provides a variety of benefits that help you feel better throughout day to day life. Unfortunately, some herbal botanicals have a negative stigma surrounding them, and Kratom is one of them. Despite how much good it can do for people, it’s strange that Kratom is still seen in such a negative light. 

While Kratom is federally legal in the United States, there are some states that have passed laws that restrict access to Kratom. There are so many people who rely on Kratom to help them live a normal, happy life - which is why it’s such a bummer that not everyone has access to it. For example, in San Diego, California they have passed laws making Kratom illegal. However, that’s not the only city in California that has passed laws against Kratom.

In this article, we are going to explore the question, is kratom legal in California! First, let’s briefly go over what Kratom is and how it can help people. 

Learn more about Kratom legality in every US state!

What is Kratom and What does it do?

Well, what is Kratom anyway?

Kratom is a plant, more specifically, an evergreen tree that grows natively over in Southeast Asia. It is indigenous to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea. It has been used in herbal medicine since the nineteenth century by natives of the area. The tree is truly magnificent and considered a gift.

Fun fact: Kratom trees can grow to extraordinary heights while living in its native habitat. There have been reports of Kratom trees growing over 100 feet tall! 

The leaves of the Kratom tree contain over 37 unique alkaloids. The two main alkaloids are called Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine. These alkaloids are super important because they are responsible for the effects that make Kratom so special. 

What are some of the benefits that Kratom can offer? Let’s go over them now. 

  • Energy and Motivation
  • Focus and Concentration
  • Relief from Physical Discomfort 
  • Relaxation 
  • Happy, Positive Mindset
  • Restful Sleep

Kratom comes in different strains and each strain has its own distinct alkaloid profile. The strain you choose will result in specific benefits. Strains are commonly categorized by the color of the veins on the Kratom leaf. For example, Red Vein Kratom strains are known to provide relaxing effects, while White Vein Kratom strains are more energizing. 

Kratom strains are also categorized by the region of which they originated.

To learn more general information about Kratom, we recommend reading our Beginner's Guide to Kratom. 

Kratom Legislation in California

Kratom began gaining popularity in the United States back in the early 2000’s. Popularity grew rapidly, and people started asking questions about the safety and long-term health effects. At the time, there weren’t many scientific studies done about Kratom. The claims of Kratom’s healthful benefits came from word-of-mouth experiences and history from its native region. Unfortunately, Kratom is widely misunderstood in the United States due to the FDA and DEA’s misconceptions on the botanical. So, some states decided to take the easy route and restrict it altogether.

Strangely enough, California is known to have a pretty lenient stance on herbal botanicals. For example, California was one of the first states to legalize Cannabis for medicinal use back in 2016, and now it can be used recreationally across the entire state. With that being said, Kratom is legal in the state of California, with the exception of two cities in San Diego county - San Diego and Oceanside. 

So, why did those cities choose to restrict Kratom? 

Why Kratom is Restricted in San Diego and Oceanside

As we briefly mentioned above, Kratom is observed in a negative light due to spread of misinformation and lack of scientific research. Many state governments classify Kratom as a psychedelic drug even though Kratom has no psychoactive properties. We believe the negative stigma comes from inadequate knowledge of the botanical. 

On June 14th, 2016 the city of San Diego approved an ordinance restricting  the sale, distribution, and possession of Kratom. Kratom wasn’t the only thing that this ordinance restriction, though. Bath salts and other synthetic psychoactive substances were also prohibited. It seems bizarre that Kratom, a plant, would be prohibited alongside a group of synthetic drugs. 

Nonetheless, Kratom is still restricted in San Diego and Oceanside to this day. 

Kratom’s Popularity in California

When the ordinance to restrict Kratom in San Diego was approved and put into effect, many people were upset. A large group of the public disagreed with the claims that Kratom is a synthetic and psychoactive drug. These are people who have experience with Kratom and know what good it can do. Despite the restrictions in these cities, Kratom has actually grown in popularity throughout the rest of California. There are many smoke shops, vape shops, and gas stations across the state that carry Kratom. 

Since the FDA deems Kratom as unsafe, it is NOT well regulated. The responsibility of safety and quality assurance is in the hands of the vendor. This creates a huge risk for people who buy Kratom from untrustworthy companies because there are some crooked vendors who sell adulterated Kratom for super cheap. For your own safety, it’s SO important to buy Kratom from a reputable, trusted, and educated vendor. 

As Kratom’s popularity continues to grow, unregulated Kratom is becoming a more serious threat to consumers. Luckily, Kratom is gaining support from powerful advocates who are pushing for regulation and safety standards for the industry. For example, the American Kratom Association (AKA) is a Kratom advocate organization whose mission is to protect consumers. They have even created an AKA GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice) Program to encourage Kratom vendors to comply with GMP standards. 

Why Isn’t Kratom Legal Everywhere? 

Kratom has been used in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years with great benefit. Regardless, there has been very little scientific study of the botanical in general. The full-range of Kratom’s benefits and long-term side-effects are unknown. Until more research is done, there is simply not enough hard data. Local governments who have restricted Kratom are merely trying to be cautious to keep residents safe. 

We hope that with more time and scientific study that we will have the answers that we need to properly educate our communities about Kratom and it’s benefits. Until then, we just need to continue being strong advocates.

How Can I Help Keep Kratom Legal?

If you want to do your part to support the fight for Kratom legality, there are a few things you can do! 

Where to Buy Kratom in California

You can test your luck by purchasing Kratom from local smoke shops or gas stations, but what you receive may not be of good quality. Arguably, the BEST place to buy Kratom is online from Happy Hippo. We have a humongous selection of Kratom strains - over 30 different kinds! 

All of our Kratom is lab-tested and sterilized at 170 degrees - hot enough to kill pathogens but not disrupt the alkaloids. You can count on a safe, high-quality product every single time. Plus, we know how important it is to get your Kratom quickly. That’s why we offer extremely fast 2-Day shipping through FedEx, and even FREE shipping for orders $150+. 

If you have any questions or need advice, please feel reach to reach out to us. Our customer service agents are compassionate and friendly. We will treat you like family. 

Happy Hippo = Best. Kratom. Ever.

  • Harvested from fully mature Kratom trees
  • Tested for heavy metals, salmonella, and e.coli 
  • Sterilized at 170 degrees 
  • No additives or inferior botanical fillers 
  • Packaged in a certified GMP-compliant facility 

National, state, municipal, county and local Laws and regulations can change. The information below was originally published in 2022 and may not be fully accurate or up-to-date.

It is important to verify the information below with other current sources. Most states have policy information on their respective .gov websites. Additionally, the American Kratom Association's Kratom Map generally maintains current state policy information. Happy Hippo assumes no legal liability for the information below. Thank you!

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