As usual, if there is something good, that helps people the state of New Jersey has to come in and crap on it. There is a bill proposed by Republican state Sen. Jon Bramnick to crack down on something called Kratom. It is a substance that comes from the leaf of an evergreen tree in southeast Asia.

The senator claims that some people are suffering from seizures, hallucinations, vomiting, and even deaths from using the substance. We took two hours of phone calls a day from people who have been using it for years and vehemently denied any claim of any such negative side effects.

The listeners we talked to on our show on Tuesday say to use it for pain regulation rather than opioids. They use it for helping them to sleep or for anxiety. Many of them say they can obtain it at smoke and gas stations. You can also order it online.

Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash
Photo by James Yarema on Unsplash

One listener said they may be confusing Kratom with Krypton, which was a drug introduced in 2015 that did cause many problems. Here's what he wrote about the story about New Jersey trying to restrict its use and distribution.

"This article can't be further from the truth about kratom. Kratom has given me a better quality of life. I have been using Kratom since 2015. I was hit by a car at 8 years old and deal with severe chronic pain. I was prescribed opiates for pain from 8 years old until my late 20s. I am 48 now. I would love to have a meaningful discussion with you about pure Kratom. Plain Leaf kratom is a great tool to help many people. Kratom got a bad name in Sweeden from the brand Krypton in 2011. The name Krypton was confused with the herb Kratom. Krypton was adulterated and had O-Desmethyltramadol which caused the overdoses."

Here is more feedback from another NJ 101.5 listener:

"I'm a 69-year-old great-grandmother who has been responsibly consuming pure kratom powder for 7 years to help manage my chronic pain. I take very little each day and have never had any adverse effects from it. It doesn't take all of my pain away but relieves it enough so that I'm able to run and play with my 6 and 3-year-old great-grandchildren. We in the kratom community only purchase from vendors who use 3rd party lab testing against adulterants and contaminants, so we DO know what we're getting. Sensible regulation is the most humane step to take. Pass the Kratom Consumer Protection Act to help ensure safe products for people like me who count on it for a good quality of life. Please look at the science." 

Well, the New Jersey Legislature can’t be that stupid and unaware. Please, please, please don’t bet on it! However, there may be a more insidious and obvious reason for trying to regulate something that helps people.

Legal weed in New Jersey! Now that weed is legal for medicinal and recreational purposes. The state stands to make plenty of money from it. So do the lobbyists who lobby for the products and the dispensaries.

Could they have had a drink at one of the pubs in downtown Trenton with a couple of legislators and said, "Listen, let’s eliminate some of the competition here. This stuff called Kratom seems to be helping people. Let’s kill it!" That's basically how our system in Trenton works. Just a crazy anti-government, conspiracy theory, or a valid hypothesis based on years of observing Trenton? You decide.

Weird things NJ taxes - and some they don't

In general, New Jersey assesses a 6.625% Sales Tax on sales of most tangible personal property, specified digital products, and certain services unless specifically exempt under New Jersey law.
However, the way the sales tax is applied in New Jersey sometimes just doesn't make sense.
New Jersey puts out an itemized list for retailers that spells out what is, and what is not, taxed. 
Perhaps because this is New Jersey, there are some bizarre and seemingly contradictory listings. 

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy only.

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