Drug task force explains reason behind pulling Kratom off Talladega County shelves
ABC 33/40 has a follow-up to a story we first told you about last week. Talladega County drug agents say a sweep of products containing Kratom was a success. The agents gave store operators 24 hours to remove the herbal supplement from their shelves or face jail.
This time last week, it was not hard to find these little bottles containing Kratom in Talladega County. ABC 33/40 looked for Kratom at a few stores in a half-mile area and couldn't find one. Drug agents in this county told store operators Kratom is illegal. Some law enforcement agencies say it is not true.
"When they came, we took everything down the same day, boxed it up and took it back to the vendor we bought it from, " said Cashier Sam Elsaidi.
Elsaidi wasted no time following the orders from Talladega County's Drug Task Force.
"They said if we still have it after 24 hours, they are going to come back here and there will be a problem like taking someone to jail," added Elsaidi.
Customers at Elsaidi's gas station noticed quickly they'd have to go far to get it.
"They would come in here asking do we have it. We would answer no and they would say Talladega County is crazy and ask why," added Elsaidi.
Drug agents hand-delivered letters insisting store owners comply with the law and ordered them off shelves.
"This all started because we started getting complaints from parents. Some were talking about their kids walking around like a bunch of zombies. Then we had others who said they were bouncing off of the wall," said Talladega County Drug Task Force Commander Jason Murray.
Some other law enforcement agencies in Central Alabama have not removed Kratom from stores.
"It all boils down to the interpretation of the law. My district attorney interprets it is illegal because it hits the opiate receptor of the brain," added Murray.
Murray knows some people claim Kratom isn't bad.
"You know, they said the same thing about spice. They said the same thing about ecstasy. They say the same the same thing about marijuana. There is a debate going on about that. Our job is to protect the public and that is what we are doing," added Murray.
Elsaidi has no problem keeping the Kratom out of his store. He's concerned about a similar looking product from vendors, expected to come out next month, claiming to not contain the herbal supplement.