Khat, a mind-altering leafy shrub is mostly chewed by the Somalis and the people from East Africa and Yemen. Banning the possession, consumption and distribution of this stimulating drug has been a long debated policy in United Kingdom.
Khat is a banned substance in many of the countries like Belgium, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Tanzania, UAE, United States and Finland. However, in United Kingdom, it is a legal product, and that is the main reason why UK has become the main gateway for Khat import and export. Custom officials of many Khat-banning countries have reported the increased activity of illegal import of Khat especially from the UK.
The problem of it is not new to the world. The erstwhile League of Nations looked at the problems of Khat back in 1933. However, the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and other specialized UN agencies are yet to consider Khat to be a “dangerous drug”.
Ethiopia and Kenya are the two main producers as well as distributors of Khat in the world. In Ethiopia, it is the second largest export item after coffee. In fact, Khat export is a very lucrative source of income for the traders as well as the Ethiopian Government.
It is believed that Khat is mostly consumed by Somalian and Yemen communities in UK. People of Somali origin are the biggest consumers of the plant. Besides all the excitements and euphoria, there is a possibility of psychological dependence that addicted Khat consumers may face due to regular consumption of Khat.
Khat in UK
A lot of speculation is involved in whether to ban the usage of Khat in UK or not. The use of it, is mainly promoted by Somali families living in cities like London, Bristol, Birmingham and Sheffield.
UK is the hub of Khat business in Europe, Since Khat is mostly consumed by the Somali and Middle Eastern communities in UK, you can get it in places like London, Sheffield, Bristol and other places where Somali immigration is high.