In Minnesota, we have a large Somali community. Khat Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher has represented many Somali clients over the years.
A plant called “Khat” (or “Qat”) has been a significant aspect of Somali culture for hundreds of years.
Prohibition laws first appeared in the early 20th Century in the U.S.A. All of them have proven failures. These laws have created exponentially more problems than proponents claimed to solve. So we ask, why this law, and why now?
Is Khat illegal?
Recently, the Minnesota legislature made cathinone a crime to possess or sell. Khat contains the mild stimulant “cathinone.”
The United States’ has a relatively short history of criminalizing certain drugs based on racism and cultural bias. In light of Khat’s mild physiological effects, is this another example?
Cathinone vs. khat
Minnesota Statutes §152.02, subd. 2 (6) defines cathinone (not Khat) as a “schedule 1” “controlled” substance. The plant Khat is not a listed.
But the Minnesota Court of Appeals seems to say that the plant is “a mixture” containing cathinone and so is a crime to possess, in State v. Ahmed, 791 NW 2d 296 (Minn. App. 2010).
By that reasoning, the corn on the cob at your next family dinner is “a mixture” containing sucrose.
Sale of cathinone
Sale of a “Schedule 1” substance can be a “controlled substance crime” in the:
“second degree” Minnesota Statutes §152.022, subd 1 (5).
“third degree” Minnesota Statutes §152.023, subd 1 (3), (4).
“fourth degree” Minnesota Statutes §152.024, subd 1 (1).
Possession of a “Schedule 1” substance can be a “controlled substance crime” in the:
“third degree” Minnesota Statutes §152.023, subd 2 (4).
“fourth degree” Minnesota Statutes §152.024, subd 2, (2).
Federal Court Khat prosecutions
Federal criminal prosecutions for Khat are similar in many ways to other federal drug crime prosecutions. See, for example, U.S. vs Sheikh, Case No. 03-2634, United States Court of Appeals 8th Circuit, May 7, 2004.
Most of Gallagher’s Somali clients have been U.S. Citizens.
But non-citizens, even Permanent Residents face Removal (Deportation) if convicted of a drug crime. Gallagher can help protect against that risk again for you.
Khat Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher
Thomas Gallagher is a Minneapolis criminal defense attorney with a heavy emphasis on defending people accused of drug crimes.
Defending a person in a Khat case is similar to defending in a criminal case, and in a drug crime case. But the specific plant or drug prohibited does make a difference.
The prosecuting attorney must have evidence of identity of the plant or substance at trial. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the charge.
Khat Attorney Gallagher knows how to challenge evidence from the police. He knows how to fight for his client to win the case.
Question? Call Khat Attorney Thomas C. Gallagher at 612 333-1500