Ministerial Statement Kava Licensing Issues
Tabled paper 2012
Tabled Papers for 8th Assembly 1997 - 2001; Tabled Papers; ParliamentNT
Tabled by Timothy Baldwin
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5 Specifically: a psychoactive agent about which little is known is being consumed in a manner that is almost certainly deleterious to the health of individuals, and to the social and economic well-being of many families and, arguably, entire communities. In other words the situation is deteriorating. One of the reasons is that the kava being consumed is of increased strength. The practice is to drink kava mud, a mixture of kava and water in which the concentration of kava is much higher than in conventional practice. But as well as this, the potency of the kava appears to be much greater than in the past. Previously the low grade lowena variety was sold. Now the much stronger, more powerful waka grade is available. These grades are based on which part of the plant they come from and is directly related to the kavalactone content. For example waka is the lateral roots of the plant and is the more expensive variety. The consumption of this more powerful kava may be associated with higher levels of intoxication and other health effects. One could perhaps, liken the difference in potency to whisky compared to beer. I said in this place in November last year that the medical side-effects of kava did not justify a total ban, but I believe the sessional committees work has drawn out sufficient evidence to overturn that assumption.
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