Stimulant drug khat becomes illegal

By ZenobiaSky · Jun 24, 2014 · ·
  1. ZenobiaSky
    View attachment 39270 Possessing, selling and importing khat - a plant used as a stimulant by Somalian communities - is illegal from today.

    Khat, which makes its users feel more alert, happy and talkative when chewed, is now banned as a class C drug despite advice from the Government's official advisers that it should not be classified.

    Around 2,560 tonnes of khat, which is also favoured by Yemeni and Ethiopian communities, worth £13.8 million was imported to the UK in 2011/12, bringing in £2.8 million of tax revenues.

    Drug experts and policy campaigners have condemned the ban as it came into force.

    Danny Kushlick, director of Transform Drug Policy Foundation, said: "Yet again the Government has ignored the advice of its experts and prohibited another drug."

    "As ever, it will serve to create a new income stream for organised crime and that insurgents could profit from.

    "At the same time it will unnecessarily criminalise a minority group of Somalis and Yemenis, and deprive producers overseas of much needed legitimate revenue.

    "It is high time that the legal regulation option was considered, not only for khat, but for other prohibited drugs."

    In a written statement earlier this year, Theresa May said despite the recommendation of the Advisory Council on Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) not to ban khat, the body acknowledged that there was an absence of robust evidence in a number of areas.

    The Home Secretary said the whole of northern Europe, most recently the Netherlands, and the majority of other EU member states have banned khat, as well as most of the G8 countries including Canada and the USA.

    Mrs May said failure to take action in the UK would place the country at serious risk of becoming a single hub for the illegal onward trafficking of khat to countries where it is banned.

    Chief Constable Andy Bliss, national policing lead for drugs, said: "Enforcement of the khat ban will be firm but proportionate.

    "Officers will take into account the nature of the offence and its severity, using a tiered approach towards offences relating to possession for personal use.

    "The police are working with Home Office colleagues, healthcare providers and community leaders to ensure that people in localities where khat use is prevalent are aware of the change in law and the police approach, as well as the support available to them."

    24 JUNE 2014
    Belfast Telegraph

    The Newhawks Crew

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  1. ZenobiaSky
    [IMGL=WHITE][/IMGL]Today, khat joined the range of prohibited substances that fall under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. Those who distribute this Class C drug can now face 14 years imprisonment – the same maximum sentence that applies to individuals who cause death by dangerous driving, and four years more than the maximum penalty for sexual assault.

    So what exactly is khat, and why has it attracted such harsh legislation?

    Khat is a mixture of leaves and herbs that provides a mild stimulant sensation when chewed, and is most prevalently used in Britain by immigrant communities – predominantly those from Somalia, Ethiopia, and Yemen. There is a long history of khat use in East Africa, and its consumption is nothing new to Western observers; in an 1856 journal article, Charles Dickens remarked that khat “[acts] upon the spirits of those using them, much as a strong dose of green tea acts upon us in Europe“.

    The movement to criminalise khat in the UK first gained momentum in 2008, when Baroness Sayeeda Warsi outlined a desire to ban the substance – describing the plant as “addictive”, “carcinogenic” and “beginning to tear apart the social fabric of certain communities”.

    However, Warsi’s perceptions have been directly contradicted by academic research. Last year, the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs – comprised of psychiatrists, professors and other experts from a range of backgrounds – conducted a study into the effects of khat use.

    The ACMD stated that “khat has no direct causal link to adverse medical effects” and that “no robust evidence has been reported to demonstrate a causal link between khat consumption and the [societal] harms described”. They concluded that it would be “inappropriate and disproportionate” for khat to be added to the growing list of prohibited substances.

    The Government’s decision to ignore this advice has attracted widespread criticism; Niamh Eastwood, director of Release – an independent group of drug policy experts - denounced the government for “once again” choosing to “ignore the evidence when it comes to drug policy”.

    As with the prohibition of many other drugs, the banning of khat will also lead to deeper and more dangerous social problems than its actual use. The estimated annual import value of khat in the UK was £13.8million, which brought in almost £3million in tax revenue each year.

    Now that the market has been delegitimised and deregulated, it's inevitable that khat importation and distribution will be monopolised by criminal gangs who can raise prices, launder money, fund more destructive criminal enterprise, and of course, pay no sales tax into the system.

    At the same time, khat users, who are primarily ethnic minorities from unrepresented and disadvantaged communities, can now be imprisoned for up to two years for mere possession.

    Danny Kushlick, founder of the UK-based Transform Drug Policy Foundation, castigated the government for implementing a law that ignores expert advice. “[It] creates a new income stream for organised crime [and] unnecessarily criminalises a minority group of Somalis and Yemenis”, he said.

    The prohibition of Khat yet another example of the uninformed and dangerous policies that characterise the ongoing failure of the UK’s war on drugs. And it's not just one or two communities that are losing out, but all of us.

    Tuesday 24 June 2014
    The Independent

    The Newhawks Crew
  2. MikePatton
    It's still legal here, and I never liked it a bit, It's really much less intense than coffee. And when compared to legal energy drinks, it's about as potent a stimulant as goat milk. It's really only used by people from Yemen origin here, and from what I hear it's not that different abroad, so this law is extremely racist. Also I bet if they make it illegal here, it will immediately become popular, after 60 years of being used only by a small minority. I bet the same will happen in the EU. The irony of it all...

    Also, Khat juice is illegal here. So Khat is legal, but if you have Khat and a juicer in your house, you are technically in a drug lab.
  3. augustaB
    It's absurd. UK doctors are now campaigning to ban cigarettes. Will fags go the way of khat?
  4. MikePatton
    I sure hope so. Tobacco is by all definitions a dangerous drug, and therfore there is absolutely no logical reason to exclude it if you're on a quest to ban all dangerous drugs, which is the stated goal of the war on drugs. I would love to see the tobacco industry take such a blow. Perhaps it will open people's eyes to the absurdity of prohibition. People are comfortable turning a blind eye when it's not THEIR drugs that are banned. How many times have you seen someone making a case against legalizing Cannabis, and then lighting a cigarette? I've seen it way too many times. It's time to rub their hypocrisy in their face.
  5. ianzombie
    It is only when Tobacco and Alcohol become threatened that the average person on the street will sit up, take notice and express their anger at being told what they can and can not do. Only when it is explained to them that their drugs of choice make them drug users will they slowly start to understand.

    First they came for the Heroin addicts, and i did not speak out-
    because i was not a heroin addict.

    Then they came for the Cannabis users, and i did not speak out-
    because i did not use cannabis.

    Then they came for the Khat users, and i did not speak out-
    because i did not use Khat.

    Then they came for me- there was no one left to speak out for me and i was extremely butt-hurt
  6. ZenobiaSky
    17 members of an international drug ring busted for bringing Khat into America

    [IMGR=WHITE][/IMGR] The drug ring smuggled the drug from Yemen, Ethiopia, and Kenya into New York and beyond, according to a 215-count indictment unsealed Friday in Brooklyn by the state's Attorney General. 17 members of an international drug ring were busted for smuggling tons of Khat into America, authorities announced Friday.

    An international ring that distributed an illegal chewable substance called Khat has been stamped out, authorities announced Friday.

    Seventeen members of the alleged drug ring that brought tons of the euphoria-inducing plant from Yemen, Kenya and Ethiopia to the city and beyond were charged in a 215-count indictment unsealed in Brooklyn by the state’s Attorney General office.

    Khat’s leaves and stems are chewed in their fresh form and contains an amphetamine-like stimulant. It’s legal in many parts of the world, including Kenya and Ethiopia were it’s primarily cultivated, and has been used socially in Yemen for thousands of years.

    But Khat is illegal in the United States and most other western countries, earning that designation in the United Kingdom this Tuesday.

    “Khat is a dangerous and illegal drug with worldwide reach,” said state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. “Trafficking often funds other criminal activity.”

    Because the substance isn’t processed, traffickers needed to operate quickly.

    The ring was allegedly headed by Yadeta (Murad) Bekri, 23, of England, who would arrange for large shipments of Khat to various UPS locations in Manhattan.

    Published: Sunday June 29, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
    Updated: Sunday June 29, 2014 MYT 10:18:42 AM
    Daily NYC News

    The Newhawks Crew
  7. MikePatton
    Why smuggle tons of plant material when you can make it into concentrated juice \ liquid extract? Sounds much more simple. But I guess chewing is like 90% of the whole thing. Like gum or sunflower seeds.
  8. ianzombie
    Another racist law that for the most part only effects certain people, in this case Africans.
    The reasons i have heard that lead to its banning are unbelievable. Claims that the use of this stimulant leads men to become lazy and bad fathers/husband etc.
    If that was enough reason to ban a drug then alcohol would be gone in a heart beat.
  9. Alfa
    TV makes people lazy as well.
  10. PersuingHappiness
    But the government use the tv the brainwash our mainstream society so the higher ups have no problem with that
  11. Diverboone
    "makes its users feel more alert, happy and talkative"
    Oh No we can't have that!
    I guess these symptoms are much too dangerous for society to experience. But I will say that's a 180 from the drug war propaganda of the past. At least they made sure one thing from the past is true now. Now it makes users into criminals.
  12. insomnia90
    my own father has used this drug for all of his adult life and I can tell you one thing i have always disliked this particular drug ( i am not a drug user btw)

    he was chewing everyday non stop from late night to early hours of dawn , sleeping during the day, it has made my family financially bankrupt, he was paying like 25 Euro's every day.

    and once this so called euphoria has left his body he became violent, aggressive, moody. he would use the khat the following day and he became very happy and talkative.

    to sum it up it was like living with a addict all my life, some days he would be happy bit others extremely violent and angry
  13. ianzombie
    I can certainly understand your opinion, insomnia90.
    If you live with someone who abuses a drug and it directly affects you then it could be hard to imagine that others could be using it without issue.
  14. insomnia90
    ...... deleted
  15. MikePatton
    Your experience is very interesting, insomnia90, thanks for sharing. It's strange because around here Khat is sold in most convenience stores, and yet I've never heard of anyone getting addicted to it.
  16. insomnia90

    what is around here? in Israel, where do you get it from is it shipped from Yemen/Ethopia?
  17. insomnia90
    one more vital piece of information I would like to add, my dad has been chewing it for 30+ years and he once went cold turkey for maybe a week because he could not access to it, something wrong with the delivery and he start hallucinating black shadows and stuff and was screaming that someone wanted to kill him in the middle of night
  18. MikePatton
    Yes, here = Israel. The Khat is mostly locally-grown, but some of it is imported from Yemen and other neighboring countries. It is widely known that most Khat users in Israel are old Yemen men. There is a popular urban myth that claims when Yemen Jews started arriving in masses in the 1950's-60's, they came carrying a shitload of Khat, and they wouldn't have stayed here it if their national hobby was made illegal. So to this day it remains legal here, though Khat juice was made illegal a few years ago when it became a popular drink.

    It sounds like your dad had a psychotic break. I've actually heard of something called "Khat Psychosis", which should be similar to amphetamine psychosis. But I haven't seen a case of this myself, even in long time users. Nevertheless, it's definitely a thing:
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