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Volume 588: debated on Wednesday 1 April 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they will consider adding the khat plant to the list of Class C controlled drugs. [HL1178]

The khat plant is not controlled under the international United Nations drug conventions and we have no current plans to bring it under the controls of the misuse of drugs legislation. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs considered the misuse of khat in 1988 and advised that there was little evidence of a social problem arising from its misuse in the United Kingdom to justify bringing the plant under the controls of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. We continue to keep its misuse under review with a view to the introduction of controls, if necessary.The active ingredients of the khat plant are cathinone and cathine, which are controlled under the United Nations Convention on Psychotropic Substances 1971. The United Kingdom has been a party to this Convention since 1986 and both substances were controlled under the Misuse of Drugs legislation in 1987. Cathinone and cathine are classified as Class C drugs.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether the Khat plant is classified as a controlled drug in any member state of the European Union. [HL1179]

We understand that the khat plant is classified as a controlled drug in the following European Union member states: Belgium; Denmark; Finland; France; Germany; Greece; Ireland; Spain; and Sweden.

asked Her Majesty's Government:Whether they have any information as to which countries in the European Union have companies selling khat plants or magic mushrooms by mail order. [HL1180]

There were some reports in the media in 1990 of the sale in the United Kingdom of magic mushrooms by mail order. However, we are unaware of any companies selling magic mushrooms or khat plants by mail order within the United Kingdom since then. Information is not available on the position in other European Union member states.