CARBONDALE, Pa. -- There is a backlash in the city of Carbondale after a new business advertised sales of the drug Kratom.
The substance is legal, but the feds have concerns while the store's owner says it helps his customers.
Endless Mountains Glass Gallery is new to Carbondale. The owner moved the business here recently from nearby Mayfield.
The storefront had a large sign for Kratom which caused a lot of concern on social media. While the FDA has warnings out, some swear it's medicine and can help with addiction to opiates.
Ray Depew helps a customer at his Endless Mountains Glass gallery in Carbondale. The man was looking for something to relax him and Depew sold him Kratom.
"It's all organic, the powder I get imported straight from Indonesia," Depew said.
So far, Kratom is legal and comes in pills or powder. Depew tells Newswatch 16 his customers use it as a substitute for painkillers.
"Most of my customers are 40 or 50 and they take it for arthritis or joint pain, or back pain."
Recently, posts on social media have caused concern over the sales of Kratom in Carbondale. Depew has taken the brunt of the backlash.
"I'm just selling a product that people need and people want. If that makes me some kind of monster, I don't understand the reasoning."
When it comes to Kratom, there are no less than two other places in Carbondale already selling the substance, including along Route 6 right next to the high school and elementary school. So far, the feds and the state have not done anything to regulate Kratom.
"It is legal. I just think there's not enough knowledge about it. I'm sure it's abused but you have to pay attention to what people are doing," said Carbondale resident Caitlyn Phillips.
"A new business pops into town. They put a giant sign up. Everyone's losing their minds about it," said Carbondale Mayor Justin Taylor.
The mayor doesn't know of any issues police have had with Kratom users. Taylor says the city can't prevent anyone including the Drive 'n Buy and Carbondale Mini Mart from selling it.
Several states have banned it.
"We're concerned about a product like this," said Mayor Taylor. "Don't want to see it get into the wrong hands. But no different from alcohol or tobacco, don't want to see people abuse it."
Depew says he'll stop selling Kratom if it's banned but says he doesn't sell to kids.
The feds and the state still haven't taken steps to regulate Kratom which means there's no telling what's in some of the packages. Some studies suggest it can help opioid addictions.