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Was a Tennessee man arrested for possession of a legal substance?

Is Kratom a herbal supplement that boosts energy and alleviates pain or is it a dangerous and illegal drug that can mimic opioids? There are people on both sides of the debate in Tennessee, though a criminal defense attorney for a man arrested for Kratom possession about 4 hours northeast of Memphis says the bust was “unreasonable, unfair . . . (and) un-American, really.”

Synthetic versions of the southeast Asia plant were made illegal in Tennessee some years ago, though the natural form of the substance is legal. “The current situation is that there is no restrictions whatsoever on Kratom,” said a state legislator recently. “A 7-year-old could go buy it.”

State lawmakers recently agreed to keep the natural form of Kratom off of a revised list of illegal drugs. Gov. Bill Haslam recently signed a bill that makes it illegal to sell any version of Kratom but the natural form. The bill also made it illegal for anyone to buy or possess Kratom if under age 21.

Despite all of that, 30-year-old Rabindranath was arrested and charged with felony possession of a Schedule I drug after law enforcement officials found powdered Kratom in his car. Note: the natural form of Kratom means cut, dried and sifted leaf or raw Kratom leaf powder.

His lawyer says the substance found in his client’s car in Portland was natural Kratom.

The town’s police chief concedes that the law is confusing, even to him. He thought Kratom was illegal until Haslam signed that recent bill.

A spokesperson for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said law enforcement agencies in the state are unable to determine if Kratom is natural or a synthetic version.

The Portland police chief said he doesn’t know if officers have arrested people for possession of a legal substance.

Clearly, the courts or lawmakers are going to have to weigh in on the matter.

If you have been improperly or wrongly arrested for alleged drug violations, speak with an attorney experienced in drug crime defense.

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