Khat is a chewable herbal stimulant, popular among the UK’s Somali and Yemeni communities. Despite there being little or no evidence that the drug causes harm to its users, the British government is working to outlaw khat. Home Secretary Theresa May says she’s worried that without a ban, the UK will become a hub for smuggling it to the US and Europe, where for the most part it is already illegal. Meanwhile, experts warn that a ban might alienate Somalis in the UK and cut off vital exports from Kenya, the UK’s largest khat supplier.
VICE News followed the khat trail, from the farms of Meru, central Kenya to the suburbs of west London, meeting businesspeople, users and community members all keen to have their say. With exclusive access to a London khat warehouse and khat cafes in the English capital and Nairobi, we explored the industry and the implications of a ban at home and abroad. Smugglers are happy, the youth of Kenya are not.