Ban on khat welcomed by Tower Hamlets politicians

The nationwide ban of khat - a herbal stimulant popular with the Somali community - has been welcomed by Labour politicians in Tower Hamlets.

Home secretary Theresa May snubbed government advisers last week and outlawed the drug which is used already illegal in most of Europe and in the US and Canada.

She said: “Khat continues to feature prominently amongst the health and social harms, such as low attainment and family breakdown, cited by affected communities and the police and local authorities working with them.”

A 2012 council report identified khat as the biggest source of substance misuse within Tower Hamlet’s Somali community,

Labour’s spokesperson for health Cllr Bill Turner commented: “A ban on khat is something which many in the Somali community have long called for. We welcome today’s announcement as a step which will help to protect vulnerable members of this community.”

Abdirashid Hirad, from Tower Hamlets Somali Friends of Labour, added: “We hope the ban will assist khat users to be socially included in the community.”