Dutch MP wants ban on qat

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Christian democratic MP Coskun Çörüz wants parliament to ban the use of the stimulant qat, the leaves of a plant which grows in the Horn of Africa.

The use of qat, mainly popular among Somalian migrants, has been banned in all European countries except for the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

“Chewing the leaves is allowed, but the drug they contain is banned, that is absurd,” Mr Çörüz said. He is also opposed to a policy of tolerance, because “Something that’s forbidden by law is not legal. We should not go down the same road we took with cannabis.”

The MP is arguing for a total ban of both the plant and its active ingredient, also, according to Mr Çörüz, because the profits from the qat trade end up in the pockets of terrorist organisations.

From Kenya the qat is shipped to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and on to the town of Uithoorn, from where it’s distributed across Europe.  Mr Çörüz says the trade involves “stabbings with machetes and a great deal of other unpleasantness,” which he argues causes problems for entrepreneurs.

Mr Çörüz expects his propoal to ban qat will be supported by the Freedom Party, the conservative VVD, the orthodox SGP and the Christian Union.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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