Ban on stimulant Khat

Home Secretary Theresa May has said she stands by her decision to ban herbal stimulant Khat, despite the Home Affairs Select Committee calling for her to change her mind, due to lack of evidence over harms.

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Home Secretary holds firm on khat ban

Khat is a herbal stimulant used widely by Somali and Yemeni communities in Wales Credit: PA

Home Secretary Theresa May says she has not been "persuaded" to change her mind on banning the herbal stimulant khat, despite the calls from the Home Affairs Select Committee for the substance to be licensed rather than banned.

The committee concluded that the Government's decision to control khat was "not based on evidence of medical or social harm." It recommended that a scheme for licencing the importation of khat into the UK be introduced, rather than banning it under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Khat is widely used by Somali and Yemeni communities in Wales, with the Home Secretary's decision dividing opinion.

In her response to the committee, Mrs May said: "I have made clear that the decision to ban khat was finely balance.

"Having reviewed the committee's report, I am not persuaded to reconsider my decision which was made following an extensive consultation process and careful consideration, not least because of the breadth and complexity of the issues associated with khat in the UK and abroad."

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Police: Response to khat will be 'proportionate'

The Association of Chief Police Officers says it will inform communities about the change in the law over the drug khat and set enforcement policies in communities where the drug is used.

As with other forms of drug misuse, the police response will be proportionate. Activity is likely to be enhanced where there is also intelligence about associated crime or anti-social behaviour.

There may be a case for police action to follow similar lines to the approach used for cannabis possession offences, where a first offence by an adult generally attracts a warning and a second the issuing of a penalty notice before escalating to arrest and prosecution. We will explore this possibility with the Home Office and with the College of Policing over forthcoming weeks.

– Andy Bliss, Chief Constable National policing lead on drugs Chief Constable Andy Bliss

Crackdown on khat drug smugglers will follow ban

Home Secretary Theresa May has ruled that khat will be a Class C drug like cannabis Credit: PA

The Home Secretary Theresa May says she has banned the drug Khat for the social affects on communities and families.

The drug is commonly used in Wales by Somali communities.

"Khat continues to feature prominently amongst the health and social harms, such as low attainment and family breakdown, cited by affected communities and the police and local authorities working with them", she said.

"To ensure a proportionate and robust policing response, the government will introduce an escalation framework for the possession of khat for personal use, similar to that in place for cannabis.

"The government will ban khat so that we can protect vulnerable members of our communities and send a clear message to our international partners and khat smugglers that the UK is serious about stopping the illegal trafficking of khat," she added.

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