by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/Owner –

In September 2022, the city of Pass Christian set an ordinance to eliminate Kratom products from the city in all businesses and distribution.

Kratom is an indigenous evergreen product found throughout several countries in Southeast Asia, such as Thailand, for chewing and smoking.

On the agenda, Tuesday, January 17, 2023 at the Pass Christian Board of Aldermen meeting, Aldermen Kirk Kimball and Victor Pickich requested an update from the Pass Christian Police Department on the execution of this city ordinance due to hearing of certain local businesses selling this product.

Pickich went on to say he saw pictures from constituents with Kratom in several products like slushie drinks outside of Pass Christian, but was concerned because of the ordinance previously passed and reports from parents.

After discussion between Pickich and City Attorney Malcom Jones, Pass Christian Police Chief Daren Freeman stated, “We served the local establishment a copy of the ordinance because we received complaints of the distribution of this product. A family member of the store was there working, and we were informed of a few items that contained Kratom and they were removed.”

Jones conveyed to Pickich that the city was enforcing the policy, but it was tough to track down and the ordinance was adopted because of incidents at the school.

Kratom has become widely known as a potential “gateway drug” for recreational purposes, but some people take it for managing pain or for treating opioid withdrawal symptoms.

The results typically begin within five to ten minutes and lasts for two to five hours.

“The fine for possession of this can be up to $1000 or jail up to six months to put the teeth in the ordinance,” said Jones, speaking to the aldermen. “We just didn’t anticipate the effect in the community, as the Chief told me of this product in a liquid form.”

Chief Freeman expressed his appreciation of the local business owners willingness to assist in the search for the product.

“The store owner showed the product to me. I wouldn’t have known about it because it was located on a different shelf and he was very forthcoming to me.”

Ordinance 685 states that from the Mayor and Board of Alderman in the city of Pass Christian, the use, purchase, possession, distribution, sale, or offering the sale of Kratom products are prohibited.

This includes any products or any variation with the trade names Kratom not be allowed.

If found in city limits, the substances will be confiscated by any law enforcement officials.

From the other end, the city attorney told the board of alderman and mayor of the difficulty in keeping outside city individuals from promoting this product of substance because it has not been categorized as illegal under state or federal law.

Reports about Kratom describe increased alertness, physical energy, talkative- ness, sociability, sedation, changes in mood, and pain relief following kratom use at various doses, but side effects include appetite loss, erectile dysfunction, nausea and constipation, seizure, addiction, and psychosis.

As of recently, there is growing concern about a threat to public health from kratom use, while others have argued that it could be a tool to help the opioid crisis.