War On Drugs Targets Immigrants For Chewing The Traditional Plant ‘Khat’

khatThree Maasai men sit near the back of an open-air restaurant and nightclub outside Bisil, Kenya, a small town about 100 kilometers south of Nairobi. A pile of small leafy sticks rests on the table in front of them.

“This thing brings people together,” said Simon Suyiaka, 25, gesturing toward the twigs. “You have all kinds of friends, from lower class to upper class. Because we all chew.”

He’s talking about khat, a stimulant common in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, better known in Kenya as miraa.

In contrast to the laid-back Kenyan scene, khat is illegal in the United States, caught up in a dragnet of policies of both the War on Terror and the War on Drugs. Its primary active component, cathinone, a relative of amphetamine and caffeine, is a Schedule I controlled substance, and arrests are on the rise. Read more at Reset.me

See more coverage of the War on Drugs at Alternet.org

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