Vice Squad
Thursday, April 21, 2005
Khat In Missouri

According to this story, possession of khat (or qat), the plant whose fresh leaves are chewed by millions of Africans, does not violate Missouri state law. (Here's a good point to remind Vice Squad readers that I am not a lawyer and I am frequently wrong, so under no circumstances should you rely upon any information or misinformation that you read here.) Some people view this as a loophole, it seems, as it diminishes opportunities to incarcerate: "Last year, police stopped a car in North Kansas City that was carrying 50 pounds of khat, and officers couldn't do anything to punish the seven people inside." Naturally, there is an effort to close this dangerous loophole.

Maybe we should start referring to drug prohibition as a loophole? Something along the lines of...

...we noticed recently that while most dangerous substances and activities are legal -- including skiing, scuba diving, sushi, and ice cream sundaes -- there seems to be a loophole whereby we forgot to legalize marijuana, opium, and some other drugs. As a result, we find ourselves incarcerating people simply because they are walking around carrying a little bit of a substance that they later might want to consume. We must close this dangerous loophole immediately, before we end up putting hundreds of thousands of Americans in prison for activities that don't harm others.

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