Unlike conventional addictive drugs like marijuana, hashish, and cocaine, there is a Middle Eastern drug that has slipped through the cracks of the authorities. Causing societal havoc in countries like Yemen, khat qat, gat or ghat, is a type of leave that when chewed gives a mild feeling of euphoria. It is used by some women in Israel to suppress appetite.
Khat chewing has increased in recent years in the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, and it’s khat’s now officially a trend among Tel Aviv and Jerusalem hipsters. Some concoctors are selling it through convenient stores, like cigarettes, and are even producing an organic ghat juice which functions as a powerful upper.
While khat might not be hitting the headlines for people in need of drug rehab, the authorities are concerned about its use and regulation. This weekend the Israeli authorities arrested a ring of six men in Jerusalem who were peddling a strong and strange khat home brew, with concentrations of the juice far exceeding what is allowed on the market.
The police seized 15,000 bottles of what is being called “Green Energy” sold widely around Jerusalem.
Concentrate extracts like the ones seized are considered very potent and are illegal in Israel. Lab tests showed two illegal khat extracts in the recently seized juice.
According to the Jerusalem Post, police officer supervisor Dotan Garelik said Green Energy gave users the “feeling of a high” but also sensations of paranoia. It was also used as a major appetite suppressant, especially by women.
The juice makers’ attorney says his clients didn’t act as criminals and that the arrest was made just so that the Israeli police could make the headlines –– a typical issue that comes up in the Israeli media.
Image of woman drinking from Shutterstock