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Is Kratom Legal in San Diego?

December 12th, 2023LegalNo Comments »

Kratom is illegal in San Diego, California, no matter what you think about it or what the laws say elsewhere. The city council here passed a law in 2016 banning kratom and any products containing it.

So if you live in or visit San Diego, it’s really important to know that kratom is totally against the law according to the city. Having any kratom on you at all, whether you’re using it recreationally or medically, goes against the city laws. San Diego kind of did its own thing here, separate from what California says about kratom statewide.

What San Diego’s Kratom Law Actually Says

In June 2016, the San Diego City Council passed a law making it illegal to produce, sell, distribute or have kratom and some other substances. The city prohibited kratom out of concern for public welfare. The law puts kratom and the other substances in “Schedule I” as drugs, or calls them “Novel Synthetic” or “Novel Psychoactive” drugs.

Section 52.3303 of City Laws

This part of San Diego’s laws specifically says you can’t make, sell, distribute or have any Schedule I, Novel Synthetic or Novel Psychoactive drugs inside the city. Since they put kratom under Novel Psychoactive drugs, the 2016 law made it illegal.

image of current kratom legislation in san diego

Section 52.3304 of City Laws

On top of banning selling kratom commercially, section 52.3304 also says San Diego people can’t have any kratom for personal use either. Since they classified it as above, you’re breaking the law here if you have any kratom on you at all, even tiny amounts. Hold onto your hat if they catch you with it – a serious fine or other sanctions could be coming your way.

While people are still arguing about kratom nationwide, for San Diego this ban is settled policy right now. If you live here or are visiting, you need to fully follow the city rules on kratom and other banned substances.

Section 52.3307 of City Laws

On top of directly banning kratom possession and sales, San Diego’s law also says property owners and other “responsible persons” can get in trouble too if people break the kratom rules on their property. Specifically, if activities like making, selling or possessing kratom happen in a building or venue here, the owner or manager has 30 days to stop that from happening after getting an official written warning from the city. If they don’t stop it, the property owner or manager could face fines or legal charges too.

So property owners here can’t just look the other way if there’s kratom stuff happening in their buildings or land, once the city sends them an official notice. Through fines for individuals as well as building owners, San Diego tries to fully stamp out any handling or possession of kratom in a couple ways.

Kratom-Related Arrests in San Diego

On December 6, 2017, police arrested 47-year old Artis William who worked at the Lotto King shop downtown at 1069 Sixth Ave. Cops suspected him of having and selling the banned drugs Spice and kratom. Investigations kicked off when they received hints that Spice was being peddled at the downtown store. Turns out, William was allegedly behind the Spice sales there. When he was arrested, William supposedly had about half a pound of Spice, 2,300 kratom pills and over two pounds of kratom powder on him.

With San Diego’s hard stance on synthetic drugs like Spice and kratom, it was the City Attorney’s Office that took charge of prosecuting William.

image of is kratom legal in san diego county

Is Kratom Allowed In the Rest of San Diego County?

In February 2020, the County Board of Supervisors talked about possibly also banning kratom in the unincorporated parts outside the San Diego city limits. At that time the city already prohibited kratom since 2016. After hearing from around 20 kratom users opposed to a wider county ban, the Board voted 4-1 against immediately making it illegal in the county too. Instead, they wanted the county departments to bounce back with rules after having a chat with the American Kratom Association.

In the end, they chose not to make kratom illegal in areas outside of city limits. But it’s still totally illegal in San Diego city limits due to that 2016 city ban. The 2020 county decision didn’t affect the existing city prohibition.

Can I Buy Kratom Outside San Diego?

While banned in San Diego, kratom remains legal in most other parts of California. So many San Diego residents who use it take quick trips outside the city to buy kratom products. But even though it’s okay to buy and have kratom in surrounding towns, taking it back into San Diego breaks the city laws. San Diego’s rules prohibit having any kratom at all within city limits, no matter where you got it originally.

So while you can legally buy kratom in nearby legal areas, bringing it back here for personal use or distributing it in the city would violate the local ban. Since it’s totally prohibited here, transporting legally purchased kratom into San Diego isn’t allowed, even though California in general is more permissive.


CONTENT DISCLAIMER: The content on this page is strictly for entertainment purposes only. The content below has not been medically reviewed and is not intended to offer advice for use or intended use. For more information about kratom and its potential dangers, please visit the fda.gov site.

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