Somaliland: Banned in the UK Khat Goes Underground


Dried Ethiopian khat leafs in a plastic bag

Somalilandsun – Khat, although banned in UK, is now available abundantly in most parts of the country in the form of dried leafs.
But the current type sold in the black market is not Mira from Kenya but is another type that is grown in Ethiopia. Suppliers sell the illegal dried leafs of Khat in transparent square plastic bags at the price between £5 and £10 a bag which is enough to satisfy the graving of person.

Luckily the number of people that chew khat are considerably lower than before the ban mainly because of legal and financial reasons. Any body caught carrying khat for personal use is subject to police cautioning followed by £60 fine for the second offence and possible imprisonment for the third offence. Those caught selling or importing and growing khat for the intention of supplying are liable to the maximum of 14 years in jail and massive fine.

Khat was banned in UK on June 24 2014 after a thorough study of its affects on the health of people that used the green leaves of this herbal drug. UK is the last country in Europe to ban Khat. Holland banned khat in January 2013 and It is also illegal in the US and Canada.
We asked a member of the law enforcing agency during khat effects awareness raising workshop in London and he said “that the UK government decided to ban Khat after a thorough study of its effects on the users and after UK had become khat smuggling traffic hub in Europe”.

Dried Ethiopian khat leafs mixed with black tea ready for consumption
The majority of Somalis living in the UK support the Khat ban and there is an apparent change in the lives of many former khat users. Some have started jobs while others sought adult education coursed or reverted to helping their families.
Khat had devastated many of the lives of consumers in UK it has been the main cause of family breakdowns among the Somali community and had drained the meagre income of families.
Khat is a plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula and contains a monoamine alkaloid called cathinone, an amphetamine-likestimulant, which is said to cause excitement, loss of appetite and euphoria.
It will take time to eliminate the illegal import of khat in UK but the good news is that it’s consumption has been drastically reduced by the ban.