The herbal stimulant khat is to be banned by the government, against the advice of its own Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD).
In January the ACMD stated khat should remain a legal substance, saying there was ‘insufficient evidence’ that it caused health problems. However, the Home Secretary Theresa May has decided to ban it, saying the risks posed could have been underestimated.
Khat will therefore be treated as a class C drug, like anabolic steroids and ketamine. A government spokesman said that ministers wanted to allow police officers to use their discretion when dealing with low-level possession offences. This is likely to be similar to how police approach those carrying cannabis for personal use, often with a warning being given for a first offence, followed by a fixed penalty for a second. Repeat offenders would face criminal sanctions for which possession of class C drugs can carry a maximum of 2 years imprisonment.
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