COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– Dozens of pro-kratom advocates gathered in downtown Columbus Friday morning ahead of an Ohio Board of Pharmacy public hearing where the future of the plant was on the agenda.

Six months ago NBC4 reported on a study a study published by the Center for Injury Research and Policy and the Central Ohio Poison Center at Nationwide Children’s Hospital that found a dramatic increase in calls to U.S. poison control centers for kratom exposure, and highlighted the need to educate pregnant women on the dangers.

PREVIOUS STORY: Kratom study shows risk of neo-natal withdrawal, drastic increase in calls to poison control centers

The American Kratom Association says that it was written based on bad science, and we talked with kratom shop owner Jack Smith.

PREVIOUS STORY: Kratom advocate says substance is saving lives

Smith says kratom saved his life and is very nervous about what could happen to him and his customers if the state bans the substance.

“I have thousands and thousands of customers that are scared to death that something all natural is going to be taken away,” Smith said Friday.

Smith is the owner of Life of Kratom. There are three shops in Central Ohio. If the ban passes, he say he will leave the state and open shops elsewhere, but he is most worried for his customers who have grown accustom to managing their pain with kratom rather than pharmaceuticals.

“Forty percent of my business is 60 [years old] and over… 60 and over. Now, I have a lot of recovering addicts that come in, but you would not believe the amount of elderly that come in and just want to help their pain and pharmaceutical drugs,” Smith added.

Stay with NBC4 for the latest on the Ohio Pharmacy Board’s decision.