Updated: Monday, 20th November 2017 @ 5:34pm

Stimulant 'cocaine-like' plant Khat banned: Manchester police offer support to communities affected

Stimulant 'cocaine-like' plant Khat banned: Manchester police offer support to communities affected

| By Duncan Robinson

The herbal stimulant Khat is illegal to import, sell and consume in the UK from today.

Khat, a leafy green plant which is chewed and can cost as little as £3, is predominantly used amongst the UK’s Somali, Yemeni and Ethiopian communities.

But a today’s ban means it will become a controlled Class C substance under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971.

Already banned in most of Europe as well as Canada and the US, the drug contains two main stimulants with the effects being compared to, but much less powerful than, amphetamines such as speed.

DCI Anthony Heslop from GMP said: “The ban is now in place and we will both support the enforcement of the law and the communities that may be affected by the ban.”

With its diverse community, Greater Manchester Police has announced special plans to support those that the ban will affect, whilst still upholding the new law, with the announcement of a six-month education period.

This education period will see intensive work undertaken by local officers with communities to ensure the new law is both communicated and understood effectively.

 “The education period will give us a chance to spend some time with the community and ensure that people are aware of the change in law and the police approach, as well as the support available to them,” said DCI Heslop.

“Our officers are fully briefed on the change in legislation and are working alongside the Home Office and healthcare providers to offer guidance and advice to local residents who may be unsure of their rights and responsibilities under the new legislation.”

However there are many who argue that the drug is engrained in Yemeni and Somalian communities and trying to ban it could harm these communities.