The federal government may not be friendly to kratom, but the kratom industry sure is being friendly to federal government employees. On Monday, as the US government shutdown reached its 24th day, online kratom vendor Kraken Kratom announced it is offering free kratom to furloughed federal employees and those working without pay during the shutdown.
The move comes at a unique moment for kratom, an opioid-like plant that has been in the Drug Enforcement Administration’s crosshairs for years. In February 2018, the Food and Drug Administration took up the charge against kratom as well, and in November, the DEA strongly suggested the drug would be made illegal in the near future.
But the situation between kratom and the feds is complicated. In December, University of Florida kratom researchers received a $3.5-million-dollar grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to study kratom, and these scientists are optimistic that they’ll begin human trials within five years.
Kraken Kratom’s owner Jeff Stratton (not the former president of McDonald’s) made the strategic public relations decision to demonstrate goodwill to federal employees who may have to choose between paying their rent and replenishing their supply of kratom. This would be especially significant for federal employees who use kratom to manage addiction or chronic pain.
With all that in mind, Kraken Kratom’s shutdown special adds yet another dimension to the kratom situation in the United States. As a Stratton tells it, the move was motivated by goodwill. Here’s what he told Inverse:
We know that hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers and their families are facing hardship as a result of the government shutdown, and we wanted to do what we could to mitigate the impact of a situation that’s beyond their control. For that reason, we’re offering special coupons for free or discounted orders to furloughed federal workers for the duration of the shutdown. Kraken Kratom counts many federal employees among our valued customers, and we hope this eases their burden while they’re not getting paid and puts a smile on people’s faces during a hard time.
Kraken isn’t the first company offering free stuff to furloughed workers, as porn site xHamster offered free porn for federal employees who have found themselves without a paycheck since the end of December.
To qualify for the free kratom deal, federal employees just need to contact Kraken’s customer service and provide proof of current employment. Even if some information is redacted from personal documents, that’s okay. As with any deal, there are limits to Kraken’s generosity: Each customer is entitled to $30 worth of products from the website, as well as free shipping. That could be enough to last until the end of the shutdown — assuming it ends soon.