Advisers rule out ban on herb khat, dismissing al-Qa'ida links as 'a nasty little rumour'
Suggestions that the supply of the herb khat is linked to the funding of terrorist groups operating in east Africa were dismissed out of hand today by the Government’s own drugs advisers.
The Home Office is believed to be sympathetic to banning the stimulant used by members of the Somali community in Britain, fearing the khat trade is associated with al-Shabaab, the Islamist group fighting in the Horn of Africa with ties to al-Qa'ida. In opposition the Conservatives pledged to outlaw the substance.
But the independent Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD) put itself on a collision course with ministers by recommending that use of the herb remained legal. It said it had investigated widely whether khat is linked to crime or terrorist activity but drew a “complete blank”.
Its co-chairman, Les Iversen, said: “We pay no credence to this idea – we think it’s a nasty rumour that is going about.”
The ACMD said it found no direct link to medical harm apart from a small number of reports linking khat use to liver damage.
A minority of the council’s members disagreed and called for khat to be banned.
Around 2,560 tonnes of khat was imported to Britain last year – a fall of about ten per cent since 2005. It was worth £13.8 and brought in £2.8m in tax.
Life & Style blogs
Britain's kitchens so filthy that they present a health risk, says new research
Fashion Revolution Day: wear your clothes inside out and ask #whomademyclothes to support worker welfare
The world's first edible garden of cake
Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
KickassTorrents down: new Isle of Man domain taken offline just hours after launch
- 1 Bruce Jenner's 'Interview of the year': Suicidal thoughts, rejection by family members and new wardrobe
- 2 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 How to turn off/stop 'seen by' on Facebook: Disable it to make your chats seem less passive aggressive
- 4 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 5 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...
Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...