In May 2019 A Vendor Was Convicted Of Two Felonies For Importing Kratom And Sentenced To Two Years In Prison And Had To Forfeit $1 Million, Setting A Dangerous Precedent
Some people may think that the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) war against Kratom ended in 2016 when the Kratom community stepped up and prevented Kratom from being declared Schedule I, but the reality is that the FDA has been taking various aggressive actions against the Kratom industry, including convicting a Kratom vendor with two felonies in May 2019 after an investigation by the FDA Office of Criminal Investigations. This sets a dangerous precedent that Kratom importation can be considered a felony, even in states where Kratom is legal, under certain conditions.
Specifically, Matthew Dailey from Nomad Botanicals plead guilty to one count of introducing misbranded drugs into interstate commerce and one count of importing merchandise contrary to law. The judge sentenced Dailey to two years of prison, three years of parole, a forfeiture of $1 million, and a 10 year ban on Dailey’s ability to import Kratom.
What happened is Dailey imported hundreds of shipments of Kratom into the United States, and his foreign suppliers labeled the Kratom as incense, paint pigment, and other things that were not under an import alert. Essentially, the FDA has an import alert against Kratom, so any Kratom that is imported into the United States can be seized in Customs, even if that Kratom is being imported by a legitimate business that is located in a state where Kratom is legal. A previous article on The Kratom Herald discusses how this FDA import alert is unjust and should be lifted, and also how the import alert is hurting Kratom users by leading to increased Kratom prices and less Kratom variety.
In any case, Dailey was essentially labeled as a criminal because he did what he had to do to get around an unjust FDA import alert, since if he would have labeled his imports as Kratom they would have been instantly seized.
The next offense, according to the FDA, is that Dailey would package up the bulk Kratom into consumer-sized bags in his home, and his home was not registered as a drug processing facility as required by the Food, Drug, And Cosmetic Act (FDCA). However, this is a shaky legal accusation, since Kratom is generally legally considered a supplement rather than a drug. Indeed, a main point of the FDA’s war on Kratom is to try to label it as a drug, since if they can label it as a drug, then Kratom falls under their jurisdiction.
Another supposed offense was that Dailey did not include any directions for use, like dosing recommendations and contradictions, on his Kratom products. Once again, this is something that’s required for drugs, but Kratom is legally considered a supplement.
The FDA was able to ‘prove’ that Kratom is a drug in this case, because Dailey pleaded guilty to intentionally selling Kratom to be used for chronic pain and opioid withdrawal/addiction management.
The Kratom Herald has reviewed both the Department of Justice press release and the FDA Debarment Order related to this case, and it is not disclosed how the FDA and the Department of Justice proved that Dailey intentionally sold Kratom to consumers for treating diseases, aside from saying that he admitted it. There is no mention that Dailey was actually saying Kratom can treat diseases on his website, and his products were not labeled as mentioned earlier.
It is possible, and in-fact likely, that Dailey simply said that Kratom can treat diseases during an interview with the police/regulators, or he was forced to plead guilty to that to get his plea deal.
This is critically important, since this entire case is built on Dailey pleading guilty to intentionally selling Kratom for the treatment of various diseases. If there was no hard evidence for that and/or Dailey didn’t plead guilty, the FDA and the Department of Justice would not have a case, since in the absence of health claims, Kratom is simply a supplement, and if Kratom is sold as a supplement then no laws are violated.
Regardless of how the FDA nailed Dailey, the reality is that Dailey really did nothing wrong. Kratom is indeed used successfully by many people to manage serious chronic pain conditions, as discussed in a previous article on The Kratom Herald which includes real-life stories about how Kratom benefited, if not saved, the lives of chronic pain patients. Another article has real-life stories about how Kratom helped people to overcome opioid addiction and withdrawal.
Essentially, Dailey was telling the truth when he made such claims, but the government was not willing to accept this reality, so they locked Dailey up and took away his money and his business.
Overall, this case sets a very dangerous precedent for the Kratom industry, since the FDA could use this case as a precedent for similar cases in the future. That being said, the magic bullet is for Kratom vendors to not admit to selling Kratom with the intention of treating diseases. It appears Dailey made such an admission either through coercion or while being open and honest with the police/regulators, and if he didn’t do that, then there would be no case since without such an admission of guilt then Kratom is considered a supplement rather than a drug, and the drug laws that Dailey was convicted of violating would not be applicable.