ATLANTA -- Protesters gathered at the capitol Tuesday to rally against the DEA's decision to make the Kratom plant a Schedule I drug.
Kratom is a tropical tree indigenous to Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, and other areas of Southeast Asia. The DEA said the plant is abused for its "ability to produce opioid-like effects".
The DEA has seized more Kratom in the first half of 2016 than any previous year. They pushed to put the plant on the Schedule I list because "[it] has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use. . . and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision".
The DEA says they've tracked 15 Kratom-related deaths since 2014.
A handful of local protesters joined groups around the country calling the DEA's decision a "war on nature". They argue against the DEA's claim there is no legitimate use of the plant. "It has been shown numerous times in reports from users to help recovering Opiate addicts, treat pain, combat depression and anxiety, and much more," Kratom supporters said in an on-line petition.
One woman held a sign claiming she was a "Kratom user, college graduate, and Christian mother". Another woman held a sign saying "I am Kratom".