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Khat farmers are gearing up to challenge the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Law in court.

The decision to challenge the law comes amidst growing frustration among khat farmers in the country who argue that the classification of khat as a narcotic drug unfairly stigmatizes their livelihood and cultural practices.

During the meeting held at Hakibaare sub country in Kabarole district over the weekend to forge a way forward following the signing of the law by the president recently, farmers agreed to take matters to court to fight the law which they describe as not fair to them.

Vicent Kizito, the chairperson Wakiso Miraa Growers and Dealers Association says on top of not being consulted over the matter when the bill was being passed by parliament, the members of parliament went out of touch with reality while passing it.

The new law, which received presidential assent recently, imposes harsh penalties for the production, trafficking, and consumption of narcotics and psychotropic substances.

The Law allows the licensed farming and use of marijuana strictly for medical use, and sets harsh penalties for a multitude of offences related to substance abuse.

Kizito says this tantamount to chasing them from a job which has earned them an income for years.

They argue that khat does not fit the criteria typically associated with narcotics, such as high potential for abuse and addiction.

They point to studies that suggest moderate consumption of khat poses minimal health risks, especially when compared to other substances classified under similar laws.

Rwabuhinga Richard, the Kabarole district chairperson called for a halt in the implementation of the law until when all their answers have been answered in the courts of law.

However, Rwabuhinga says that while the government is doing all it takes to fight khat, people should be given an alternative source of income.

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