Saturday, May 31, 2008
Ban on Kava balloons into more violence, higher prices
Yes, zero tolerance fundamentalists have done it again. A ban on Kava, a mild narcotic intrinsic to Pacific Island societies, has broken up Australian 'kava clubs' which Tongans say reduced violence, underpinned their cultural roots and connected younger with older generations.
Tongans here say there has already been an increase in violence as a result of the ban.
The price of the stuff, in line with other prohibited substances, has rocketed from $30 per kg to $200, creating a great profit opportunity for smugglers and drug dealers.
Meanwhile the kava-clubbers will presumably turn back to alcohol with all its well-known consequences. Pure kava has no serious health risks. Only low-grade kava with impurities from the wrong parts of the plant contains toxins. Under the ban, though, the pure stuff will be harder to get and unscrupulous suppliers will be more tempted to flog the diluted product, exactly as now happens with other prohibited drugs.