January 18, 2008
The use and sale of khat, a plant with stimulating properties, will not be forbidden, wrote Health Minister Ab Klink (CDA, Christian party) in a statement to the second parliamentary chamber. The substance was not included in the Opiumlaw.
The Minister states that use is ‘limited to a relatively small, mostly Somalian part of the population, and health risks to users are limited. “There have only been accidental reports of nuisance on a local level and there’s no involvement of organised crime.” Klink also thinks a ban will lead to ‘criminalising the trade and stigmatising the Somalian users’.
Municipalities that suffer nuisance already have enough legal means to challenge any problems, for example by using General Local Ordinances. Municipalities also seem the best level to educate and inform citizens on khat culture.
Khat is used by chewing the leaf. Jellinek, an institution voor addiction care and prevention, says addiction risks are only small because the chewing prevents that users ingest large amounts of the psychoactive ingredient. Khat has been banned in France and Sweden. Apart from the Netherlands the leaves are permitted in the U.K. and Israël.