Gluckstadt prohibits nicotine alternatives
GLUCKSTADT — Ordinances prohibiting minors from obtaining and using alternative nicotine products and from buying and selling kratom were passed here this month.
Kratom is an herbal substance that can produce opioid- and stimulant-like effects and is typically available at tobacco, hemp and vape shops.
Mayor Walter Morrison said the alternative nicotine ordinance is an effort to protect minors (anyone under the age of 21) from the adverse health effects of nicotine products.
“This ordinance prohibits minors from obtaining electronic cigarettes, whether it be in the form of a conventional cigarette or electronic cigarettes,” Morrison said.
Morrison said the ordinance states that an alternative nicotine product means an electronic cigarette, or any other product that consists of or contains nicotine that can be ingested into the body by chewing, smoking, absorbing, dissolving, inhaling or by any other means.
The ordinance specifies that no one under 21 can possess an alternate nicotine product and/or electronic cigarette on school property.
“If the ordinance is violated, a citation will be issued,” Morrison warned. “What we’re trying to do is protect young people in the city from getting their hands on things that are adverse to their health.”
The first offense for violating the ordinance is a $50 fine and up to 30 hours of community service, along with successful completion of a class aimed at education and deterring the use of tobacco, alternative nicotine products and electronic cigarettes.
The second offense is a $250 fine and up to 60 hours of community service along with completion of the same class in the first offense and a parent or legal guardian of the minor defendant must attend and complete the class with them.
Along with the alternative nicotine ordinance, the board also adopted an ordinance prohibiting the use, purchase, distribution, and sale of synthetic cocaine, other synthetic products, and kratom.
According to the Mayo Clinic, users swear by kratom for mood enhancement and fatigue reduction, but safety issues and questions about its effectiveness abound.
The FDA is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.
Kratom is a plant which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.
The ordinance states the FDA has issued several warnings addressing the illegal marketing of kratom’s unproven ability to treat opioid withdrawal, along with heavy metals found in the products, along with the fact that the FDA has no approved uses for the drug.
“In terms of kratom, I am no expert, but I know it has a lot of adverse health effects and it is dangerous stuff,” Morrison said. “It has some opioid type qualities to it. According to my understanding, it has no approved uses by the FDA, and it’s another example of us trying to get these dangerous drugs out of the hands of minors. We want to protect the young people.”
The ordinance states that no person, no matter what age, can use, possess, purchase, manufacture, sell or attempt to use kratom or any kratom products within Gluckstadt city limits.
This ordinance goes into effect in January 2023 after a unanimous vote by alderman on Dec. 13.