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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    THE HAGUE — The Dutch government Tuesday banned the use of khat, a leaf native to East Africa chewed for its stimulant properties mainly by the Netherlands' sizeable Somali community.

    "The drug khat is banned," the Dutch Immigration, Health and Justice departments said in a joint statement.

    Khat is grown in the Horn of Africa and has for centuries been chewed by users in Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia and Yemen.

    "The problem lies especially within the Somali community, which is much larger than the Kenyan or Yemeni communities within our country," immigration department spokesman Frank Wassenaar told AFP, adding there were about 27,000 Somalis living in the Netherlands.

    "If taken in moderation there are no major problems, but an investigation showed it to be problematic among some 10 percent of khat users," leading to health and social issues, added the statement.

    An independent report commissioned by the Dutch government has cited noise, littering and groups of men who "roam the streets perceived as threatening", as some of the effects.

    With high unemployment and low education levels, the Dutch Somali community was "late" in terms of integration, the report said.

    Imported legally via Amsterdam's Schiphol airport four times a week, khat is distributed throughout the Netherlands but also in Germany, Sweden, Denmark and Norway, it added.

    Around 843 tonnes of khat, worth a minimum 14 million euros (U$18 million) passed through Schiphol in 2010, up from 714 tonnes in 2009 and 693 tonnes in 2008.

    Britain and the Netherlands currently allow the import, trade and consumption of khat, according to a European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction letter of July last year entitled "Drugs in focus."

    Fifteen of the European Union's 27 states and Norway list khat as an illegal narcotic, while in the other EU countries, the plant was not subjected to any controls, the EMCDDA letter said.

    Jan 10, 2012



  1. Thirdedge
    I was under the impression they had already banned Khat. Certainly no of the better Smartshops seem to sell it? Perhaps they had a tolerance to ethnic users importing the fresh plant material only? Otherwise surely it would be available in the likes of herbal tinctures and other extracts / products.
  2. Terrapinzflyer
    ^^ I really don't know the situation. But there was an article just a week ago of a dutchman busted in Germany with 1.7 tons of Khat, and the article mentioned that Khat was, at that time, legal in the Netherlands. While it provided very few details- my assumption was that it was being taken to the Netherlands. Story
  3. Alfa
    Khat was perfectly legal. And since we have a lot of Somali people in the Netherlands the Khat trade is very visible on the street. This ban would not have happened if the trade have gone on behind closed doors, instead of at every large railway station.

    Khat always had a special status in the Dutch legal system.
    Several Christian ministers tried to ban it over time, but the Committee Assessment & Monitoring of novel drugs, came to the conclusion that there is little risk in Khats legality.
    Justice has tried to convict Khat traders, based on the controlled substance cathinone in khat. But that did not fly.

    It was interesting to see that the national news reported that it is expected that the Khat trade will just continue underground.
  4. Thirdedge
    ^+1. It certainly will continue underground.

    In New Zealand where it is a class c controlled substance (and has been for years), it is still widely imported, sold and used amongst the Somali community.

    Innocent people who have a Khat tree growing (unknowingly) often awaken in the middle of the night to see their tree stripped bear by a mob of Somali,s.
  5. Terrapinzflyer
    Kenyan PM to intervene over Dutch khat ban

    NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 30 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Monday promised to intervene to have a ban on miraa exports to Netherlands lifted.

    Speaking when he received a petition from farmers and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) officials, he said he would take up the matter with the Dutch government to reverse the ban on selling khat in the European country.

    The PM noted that such a ban which has already been affected by the Netherlands will greatly impoverish miraa farmers in the Meru region who depend on the crop for their livelihood.

    He said: “Miraa is not a drug, and I will convey your sentiments to the governments of Netherlands and the United Kingdom to reverse the ban on the sale of the crop in their countries.”

    Following the ban earlier this month Kenya was reported to be losing Sh1.6 billion per month.

    Use of miraa is banned in 17 European countries with Netherlands being the latest on the list to ban its sale.

    Through Miraa lobby groups, farmers have held talks with their leaders including the government to have the ban lifted.

    Miraa traders however told Capital News that they were still exporting miraa to the United Kingdom.

    But they hoped Netherlands will consider lifting the ban.

    Posted by JUDIE KABERIA on January 30, 2012

  6. dnb_coqui
    I found out about Khat in Chicago a few years back. It baffles me that the stuff get's so much media attention. It's not like you hear in open air drug markets like Philadelphia, or Baltimore, "Hey what up, I got that Khat!". Most people I know would say, "you mean K?"
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