THE HOME office has announced that khat, a herbal stimulant native to the Horn of Africa, has been classified as a class C substance and made illegal.
The move from Theresa May has come after consulting with the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD), which undertook a review of the available scientific evidence on harms.
The home secretary said: "Harmful drug use has a serious impact on UK society. I have carefully considered the ACMD’s advice before reaching this decision and looked at wider concerns from communities about khat use and our international responsibilities."
Khat is already illegal in most of Europe as well as Canada and the United States, and there has been an increase in seizures of the recreational drug en route to the Netherlands from the UK since the Dutch ban in 2011.
"Banning khat will help protect vulnerable members of our communities and send a clear message to an international audience that the UK is a hostile place for traffickers," the home secretary added.
As a Class C drug, anyone caught trafficking or supplying khat will face up to 14 years in prison and an unlimited fine.