Background: The regulation of khat, one of the most recent psychoactive drugs to become a globally traded commodity, remains hotly contested within different producer and consumer countries. As regimes vary, it has been possible to compare khat policies in Africa, Europe and North America from different disciplinary perspectives. \ud Methods: Field research was conducted in East Africa and Europe, using a combination of semistructured interviews, participant observation and the analysis of trade statistics. \ud Results: The research established the significance of khat for rural producers, regional economies, as a tax base and source of foreign exchange. At the same time, khat as a psychoactive substance is associated with health and public safety problems that in turn are met with often ill-informed legislative responses. Bans have in turn lead to the criminalisation of users and sellers and illegal drug markets. \ud Conclusion: The empirical work from Africa provides a strong argument for promoting evidence-based approaches to khat regulation, harnessing the positive aspects of the khat economy to develop a control model that incorporates the voices and respects the needs of rural producers. Ultimately, the framework for khat may provide both a model and an opportunity for revising the international treaties governing the control of other plant psychoactive-based substances
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