Is It Illegal in Maryland to Drive on Kratom? With recreational cannabis recently becoming legal in Maryland, it is important to note that driving while under its influence is illegal, and can see the driver pulled over and arrested for DUI. While one would imagine that all drugs would be given this similar treatment concerning a DUI charge, this is not the case for kratom. Kratom is a herbal supplement that causes an array of mental and physical effects. It’s not a new substance, but it has become more and more popular over the past few years, and different states have different laws and regulations concerning the supplement.

Kratom is legal in Maryland, and people can order it online or purchase it from shops. People can even choose to drive under its influence, and not be concerned with being charged with a DUI. However, when it comes to being charged with reckless driving due to kratom, that is another matter entirely.

What is kratom?

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, “Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. Consumption of its leaves produces both stimulant effects (in low doses) and sedative effects (in high doses), and can lead to psychotic symptoms, and psychological and physiological dependence.” At low doses, kratom (Mitragyna specisoa) has energizing effects; at medium doses, it can cause euphoria, and bring pain relief and reduce anxiety; and at high doses, users may experience sedation.

Some people have found that kratom is helpful for withdrawal symptoms when breaking their addiction to opioids; however, kratom comes with some serious negative effects and symptoms, as per the Cleveland Clinic, including:

  • Aggression
  • Altered mental status
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Constipation
  • Delusion and hallucination
  • Drowsiness and sedation
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Itching
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Tongue numbness
  • Cardiac issues, such as heart attack, abnormal heart rhythms and high blood pressure
  • Encephalopathy (brain disease)
  • Hallucination
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
  • Insomnia
  • Liver damage and liver failure
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Respiratory depression (difficulty breathing)
  • Seizure

It should be noted that while kratom is not an opioid, it has some similarities to opioids, and is susceptible to addiction. Not only that, the DEA states that “several cases of psychosis resulting from use of kratom have been reported, where individuals addicted to kratom exhibited psychotic symptoms, including hallucinations, delusion, and confusion.”

Is kratom legal in Maryland?

Currently, kratom is legal in Maryland, and is not regulated or scheduled as a drug by the FDA. While certain states have laws and regulations (and even certain cities), Maryland does not. Citizens of Maryland can buy it, possess it, or sell it within the state. In 2020, a bill attempted to put an age limit on kratom’s use, but it died in committee, so the substance remains unregulated in the state.

Can I get arrested for driving while under the effects of kratom?

This is a complicated question. Because kratom is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act, or a controlled substance under the FDA, a driver would not be breaking the law by driving under the influence of kratom because it is not under the same laws as other drugs. Additionally, kratom cannot be detected by drug tests administered by law enforcement, so if you were pulled over, and you gave them a blood or urine test, kratom would not show up. So it is unlikely that you would be issued a DUI while driving under the influence of kratom in Maryland.

Drivers should take note, however, that with the various effects that kratom can have on people, it is a poor choice to drive while taking the supplement. Being under such influence is likely to cause a driver to drive recklessly, whether that means speeding, swerving, falling asleep at the wheel, or sudden braking. With the psychotic symptoms that are possible, it may be likely that you will see things in the road that are not there, causing you to drive erratically. If you cause a crash while on kratom, you may face reckless driving or reckless endangerment charges. The short version is, you can get a ticket if you’re impaired behind the wheel – even if what’s impairing you is perfectly legal to take. And if you cause someone harm, the cops won’t care WHAT’S in your system; you’re going to get busted, and you’re going to want a lawyer.

Whether you have been arrested while driving under the influence of a different drug, or under the influence of kratom, you deserve representation. At Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law, I’ve been representing Marylanders for over 18 years. I know exactly how the legal system works, and the best ways to fight any charges against you, and to minimize any penalties you may face. If you are charged with a drug crime, or reckless driving, I want to help you. To learn more, call my firm in Annapolis or Ellicott City, or fill out this contact form.

And remember: Keep Calm, and Call Drew.