On January 14th 1993, the DEA acting administrator Robert C. Bonner released the final judgment by the DEA scheduling cathinone and 2,5-dimethoxy-4-ethylamphetamine (DOET) into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. Effectively this judgment banned the sale, use, and possession of Khat. Citing negative results found by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) with regard to medical value, and sporadic incidents of clandestine cultivation encountered by the DEA, Bonner placed cathinone and DOET in schedule one.
What is Khat?
Catha edulis, otherwise known as Khat is a flowering plant native to the Horn of Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Within these regions, Khat use has deep historical and cultural roots. Khat leaves contain two primary chemicals cathinone, and DOET which have much the same effects and side effects of amphetamine. Khat’s effects are described as similar to that of a strong cup of coffee.
Traditionally used by manual laborers as traditional medicine for pain and lethargy, Khat is still legal and widely used through most of the Arabian Peninsula and remains highly available and unregulated in much of the eastern coast of Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not consider Khat a seriously addicting drug.
Khat found little popular use in the United States, and by the DEA’s own admission, use of the drug was virtually nonexistent in North America. However, in Europe Khat proved popular amongst economic migrants from Eastern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. Following the explosion in Khat use through western Europe most banned the use or sale of the drug.
Khat’s rescheduling has remained unchallenged. However, Khat’s position as a schedule one drug has raised concerns about cultural misunderstandings. In 2006 a DEA raid on Somalia migrant community resulted in hundreds of arrest for Khat possession. Lawyers for those arrested argued vigorously for “cultural defenses” namely that, these immigrants to the United States where unaware that drug was actually illegal as it is perfectly socially acceptable and culturally appropriate in their communities to use it. Unfortunately, this defense where unpersuasive to the state.
These cultural misunderstandings have led to policies specifically for those immigrating from the regions where khat is commonplace to make sure they are aware that the drug is illegal in the United States.
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Gilbert Garcia has been Passionately Pursuing Justice for over 30 years and founded The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm in 2008. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is a boutique law firm, specializing in Criminal Defense. Gilbert represents adults and juveniles accused of a crime and who have with a felony, misdemeanor or record cleaning case. Conveniently located on the courthouse square to serve Montgomery and Walker Counties. Gilbert became Board Certified in Criminal Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in 1989. The Gilbert G. Garcia Law Firm is located at 220 N. Thompson St., Suite 202, Conroe, TX 77301. www.ggglawfirm.com