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Khat
Legal Status
by Erowid
U.S. FEDERAL LAW #
Caution :   All legal information should be verified through other sources. [see below]
U.S. FEDERAL LEGAL SUMMARY
Catha edulis
REGULATED
No
STATUS
Ambiguous
SCHEDULE
Contains
Schedule I Chemical
CLASSIFICATION
Stimulant
Khat is not specifically listed in any schedule in the United States. However the federal government appears to be treating Khat as equivalent of Cathinone, one of the chemical constituents in the plant. Cathinone is Schedule I in the United States, making it illegal to manufacture, buy, possess, or distribute (sell, trade or give) without a DEA license.

It is reported that the cathinone in Khat breaks down quickly and after only a few days, only cathine is left. The DEA temporarily (emergency) scheduled cathine in Schudule IV on May 17th 1988, but it was never permanently added to the CSA as a controlled substance. This temporary scheduling would have expired 18 months after the initial emergency scheduling.

Individuals in the US have been successfully federally prosecuted for possessing and distributing dried khat leaves intended for ingestion. Dried leaves, intended for ingestion, courts will likely find constitute a "material or preparation" containing a schedule I substance, and thus controlled under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA). Cases such as: a man from Portland, Maine convicted in 2002 for 'intent to distribute' dried leaves. For live plants, not intended for ingestion, the law is ambiguous and has not yet been fully resolved.

The DEA considers khat "an illegal plant", but the DEA's views are not law and do not have the force of law. See DEA's 2002 Briefing on Khat for more information on their view of khat. In two entries in the Federal Register, the DEA mentions khat and their view of its legal status, but in the scheduling of cathine and cathinone, the DEA chose both times not to list the plant itself and thus the plant remains in a legal grey area.

U.S. STATE LAW #
Alaska #
Catha edulis is controlled in Alaska. In June 2013, a man was charged with possession of a green leafy material on suspicion it was Khat. See http://www.adn.com/2013/07/26/2993049/east-african-drug-khat-shows-up.html. (thanks g) (last updated Jul 30 2013)
Missouri #
Catha edulis is Schedule I in Missouri, "to include all parts of the plant presently classified botanically as catha edulis, whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; any extract from any part of such plant; and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant, its seed or extracts." [Missouri Revised Statutes - Drug Regulations, August 28, 2008]

If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other U.S. state, please let us know.
INTERNATIONAL LAW #
Australia #
As is often the case with Australian law, the status of khat is rather murky. Khat does not appear to be federally regulated in Australia, but its active compounds cathine and cathinone are. This may mean that the plant itself is not illegal unless it is harvested or consumed (unconfirmed). Import of khat is regulated and requires a permit. Import law allows "up to 5 kg of khat per month per individual for personal use" under certain conditions and with the correct permits, but this would not supersede state prohibitions on khat if they exist. See Office of Chemical Safetey Khat information sheet for more information. (thanks C)
Belgium #
Khat became controlled in Belgium on Oct 22, 2006. [EMCDDA reference]
Canada #
Khat (Catha edulis) is schedule IV in Canada. (Note: Canadian schedules are very different than U.S. schedules.)
Israel #
A specific note in Israel's Dangerous Drugs Act states that the law banning khat's psychoactive chemicals does not apply to "khat leaves in their natural state intended for chewing". Cathinone, Cathine, and Methcathinone were added to the list of controlled Dangerous Drugs in early November, 2004 after cathinone was sold in capsules "Hagigat" and several people were reported to have required medical attention. See Haaretz.com. See Psychoactives Law : Israel. (thanks KP, ELI)
Kenya #
A recent study "What Harm: Kenyan and Ugandan Perspectives on Khat" by Beckerleg published in May 2006 said that there is no medical reason for a khat ban in East Africa. See AllAfrica.com.
Netherlands #
Khat is legal to buy, sell, and use in the Netherlands. In September 2004, in response to a request by city officials in Tilburg and Rotterdam, Minister of Justice Donner announced that use and sales of Khat had not caused significant problems and would not be controlled.[Reference] Dutch Health Minister Ab Klink reiterated this again in January 2008 saying that khat use is limited to a relatively small, mostly Somalian part of the population, and health risks to users are limited.[Reference]
Norway #
Khat and all of its parts are illegal in Norway. (see Forskrift om narkotika) (thanks SR)
Somalia #
According to the BBC on Nov 17, 2006, the Islamic group currently in control of much of southern Somalia banned Khat. (See BBC Nov 17)
South Africa #
Cathinone and Methcathinone are controlled, but Manton Hirst reports that the plant itself is, as of 2004, protected and the SANAB is no longer on an eradication campaign. See Khat in South Africa for more info.
U.K. #
Cathinone and cathine are classified as Class C drugs in the U.K., but khat and its leaves are currently uncontrolled and are widely available. We have been told that small bundles sell in Scotland for £3-£5 (GBP) and are often wrapped in banana leaf with twine. Driving under the influence of khat is considered "impairment" and is not legal. The U.K. serves as a major hub for exporting and/or smuggling khat to other countries including the United States and Canada. See Khat (Qat): Assessment of Risk to the Individual and Communities in the UK (PDF) for more information. (thanks KS) UPDATE: JULY 3, 2013: On July 3, 2013, Home Secretary Theresa May announced that she plans to ban Catha edulis in the UK, making it a Class C drug; those caught trafficking the plant will face up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine (see Written Statement to Parliament: Khat), while those in possession face up to two years in prison and a fine. Additionally, "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." (see Khat to be made a Class C drug) May's decision to ban the drug goes against the advice of the Home Office's Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, which recommended that khat should remain legal earlier this year. No date has been announced yet when the ban will take place.
If you have information about the legal status of this substance in any other country, please let us know.

CAUTION & DISCLAIMER #
Erowid legal information is a summary of data gathered from site visitors, government documents, websites, and other resources. We are not lawyers and can not guarantee the accuracy of the information provided here. We do our best to keep this information correct and up-to-date, but laws are complex and constantly changing. Laws may also vary from one jurisdiction to another (county, state, country, etc)...this list is not comprehensive.