Khat is a Harmless Plant. So Why is D.C. Trying to Prohibit it?
Last fall, at the urging of DC US Attorney Jeffrey Taylor, Mayor Adrian Fenty (D) introduced a proposal to criminalize fresh khat as a Schedule I drug, as it is under federal law. The DC City council is currently considering the proposal as part of its 2009 Omnibus Crime Bill and is likely to act on the measure before its session ends July 15.
Khat use is such a total non-problem that many people don't even know what it is, thus I should probably explain that khat is a mild stimulant used similarly to coffee in parts of East Africa. It isn't dangerous or particularly popular in the U.S., so the drug's prohibition under federal law can be attributed almost entirely to ignorance and racism. Seriously, the arguments against khat are so weak and sparse that law enforcement officials have resorted to the factually-vacant implication that khat might be funding terrorism.
Tragically, the D.C. City Council has thus far failed to grasp the absurdity of all this and will be banning khat entirely within a matter of weeks if we don't stop them. If you live in D.C. please click here to tell the council that prohibiting khat doesn’t make sense.