Khat, the herbal stimulant tends to have been banned by government, as against advice of the Advisory Council of its own over drugs’ misuse.
During January, it was said by AMCD that Khat needs to remain legal substance as there was insufficient evidence of its causing health problems, he said.
Though, Theresa May, Home Secretary decided to have it banned, saying risks present could’ve been underestimated.As ketamine and anabolic steroids, Khat would be treated to be drug of class C.
Accoridng to Home Office, ban was for protecting the communities’ vulnerable members and it’d be permitted at earliest opportunity possible.Already, Khat is banned in much of Europe as well as in some other countries which include Canada and US.
Decision of UK to follow the suit depends on international and security considerations, which concerns UK in particular which can be used to be transit route to other countries in Europe.
According to Mrs May, “Failure to take decisive action and change the UK’s legislative position on khat would place the UK at a serious risk of becoming a single, regional hub for the illegal onward trafficking.”
Though, the campaigners said that they happened to be concerned and disappointed at decision of government to reject advice of advisory council.
From the charity Drugscope, Martin Barnes, said that an alternative more proportionate to banning of khat and also criminalizing the use would be ban on imports or making khat supply offence just as applies, e.g., for controlling anabolic steroids.Traditionally, Khat is used by the members of Yemeni, Ethiopian and Somali communities.
One review by AMCD was commissioned by Home Office and it said that chewing khat did produce somewhat stimulant effect which is quite less potent compared to the stimulant drugs like amphetamine.
No evidence was found that khat was made of shoots and leaves of shrub that’s cultivated in Horn of Africa & Arabian Peninsula as well as containing stimulant cathinone happened to be linked directly to organized or serious crime.
Though, on Wednesday government said that it happened to be concerned that less evidence could’ve led AMCD underestimating risk to the communities that were posed by drug.In UK, Somali groups told AMCD that khat’s use was an important social problem which caused many medical issues as well as family breakdowns.
AMCD said that the withdrawal symptoms like depression and tiredness were linked with khat, also recommending NHS needs to educate public regarding these where it was necessary.
According to one government spokesman, ministers wished to allow the police to use discretion while dealing with the possession offences at low levels, much like the way they do approach the ones carrying cannabis to be used personally.Though, repeat and the serious offenders will be faced with criminal sanctions, added the spokesman.
Speaking for Association of Chief Police Officers, Andy Bliss, the chief constable, said that there can be some case for the treatment of khat possession according to that way. He said that an offence by adult the first time leads to warning, the second time to penalty notice issuance and next time to prosecution and arrest. He further said, “We will explore this possibility with the Home Office and with the College of Policing over forthcoming weeks.”