Why Can’t You Buy Kratom at GNC?

Have you ever wondered why you can’t buy Kratom locally at GNC? If so, you’re far from alone.

In fact, most kratom enthusiasts probably wish that big box stores in their neighborhood would carry this natural substance. Unfortunately, there are many reasons that this is unlikely to occur. We’ll detail a few of the biggest factors below.

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Kratom Credit Card Issues Make GNC Wary

GNC, Walmart, Walgreens, and other big box stores are wary of selling kratom for one major reason: credit card processing issues.

It may seem odd to customers, but credit card processing companies can decide whether or not to process payments. Certain products and services are considered high risk. When a product is deemed a high risk – whether rightfully or wrongfully – it becomes a big issue for businesses.

The only alternative is a high-risk merchant processor, a firm that specializes in taking on riskier clients in alternative fields. While this may sound like the obvious answer to the issue of high-risk processing it is worth mentioninig the cost (and risk) it comes with.

High-risk processing services charge an arm and a leg to set up your account. There are hidden fees galore, including – but not limited to – processing fees, account overages, per gateway fees, item fees, scrub fees, and other fees that can shock your hair white.

More alarmingly, high-risk processing services that promise instant approval can often take three to five weeks to get back to you about your approval status. This is counter-productive to the nature of running a successful and consistent enterprise.

Allowing customers to pay for kratom with a credit card can lead to the vendor’s entire processing account being shut down. Even worse, the vendor may never receive any outstanding payments from the credit card processor. This is simply too much of a risk for stores like GNC to take.

The FDA and Kratom

Selling kratom may be legal at a federal level, but that hasn’t stopped select states and municipalities from restricting kratom sales. The FDA investigates many large kratom packages that are imported by over overseas businesses. If they find anything wrong with kratom whatsoever they can seize the entire supply.

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While this isn’t as routine as one might think, it remains a common enough occurrence to keep big box stores skeptical of the kratom industry. In May of 2021, U.S. Marshals seized 207,000 units of kratom products, including 34,000 kilos of bulk kratom powder.

This is merely the latest in a string of such seizures, which have been going on practically since the Western world first became hip to this remarkable herb. Back in 2019, the FDA issued warning letters to two prominent kratom vendors.

These events and others, such as the 2016 intent by the DEA to place kratom on a list of controlled substances, has left the Mitragyna speciosa tree and its alkaloids stigmatized. As such, many retailers are unwilling to risk their reputation (or bottom line) to carry a line of kratom products.

The FDA investigates many large kratom packages that are imported by businesses. If they find anything wrong with a shipment, from the way in which it is labeled to whether or not it’s pure kratom, they can seize the entire supply. This can cost smaller companies millions of dollars.

Can you imagine how much GNC would lose if the FDA seized a shipment meant for their entire US chain? It’s quite frankly way easier for GNC and other big chains to simply steer clear of the entire thing.

GNC Liability Concerns

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Another primary reason you won’t find kratom capsules locally at GNC is the fear of legal liability. GNC already has a long history of lawsuits, including a 2015 suit brought against the chain by the Attorney General of Oregon. That alone would be reason enough for many businesses to stay away from potentially high-risk items.

Further compounding matters is the real-life example of a family that sued a kratom vendor for wrongful death. A number of people who have died with kratom in their bloodstream were also found to have taken narcotics, and some even had a history of substance abuse. Nevertheless, some people are trying to place the blame solely on kratom.

Large chain stores go to great lengths to protect their reputation. The need for this is clear when you consider how many companies have found themselves on the wrong end of a boycott due to the actions of one rogue employee. Between this and GNC’s legal history, it’s unsurprising that you can’t buy kratom at your local GNC.

Where Should You Turn for Kratom?

A wide range of places sell kratom in various forms. On a local level, this substance is often available at headshops, smoke shops, and even some gas stations. To get the best possible quality, though, we always recommend choosing a reputable online kratom vendor that’s been in business for at least a few years.

The following are our top three picks for apothecary-worthy kratom at a cut-rate price. Each of these brands has been thoroughly vetted and possesses a stellar track record in the kratom marketplace.

  • Amazing Botanicals
  • Kona Kratom
  • New Dawn Kratom

When shopping around for a trusted vendor, you should always be looking for a brand that’s consumer- conscious, GMP-compliant, and all-natural. A consumer-conscious vendor will be aware of market trends and dips in the economy, and will prices its goods accordingly.

The AKA (American Kratom Association)’s GMP Standards Program is a great resource for those concerned about a brand’s business practices, but not all vendors participate in the program. However, many vendors display GMP compliance on their sites.

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When you order kratom, you’re paying for something that’s supposed to be natural. Don’t settle for something that’s been stepped on like street drugs or enhanced through synthetic means. Make sure a vendor guarantees purity.

Most importantly, demand independent third-party labs from any brand before you place an order. Every legitimate kratom vendor should be able to furnish customers with a certificate of analysis.

Unsure about finding shops that meet our suggested criterion? Check out our helpful guides for additional information.


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