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Commercial Importation of Kava

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I saw this notice on the ASX this week

 

Australian Government approves the commercial importation of drinking kava for retail sale.

 

See here

 

https://cdn-api.markitdigital.com/apiman-gateway/ASX/asx-research/1.0/file/2924-02454003-6A1063472?access_token=83ff96335c2d45a094df02a206a39ff4

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Interesting politics - hadn't known about the ban in 2007. Sounds like a pretty racist policy?

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Good. It was a totally racist policy made with little understanding of the cultural significance of kava to the islander communities.

Edit: just read the statement and I'm disappointed. By the sounds of it, they are talking about pre-processed kava products for drinking, not powdered kava roots? Did I read that correctly?

And what does "safest and most effective" mean? Low or high in kavalactones?

Still, it's an improvement. It will be interesting to see what prices are like. 

Edited by Glaukus
Read the damned press release before commenting!

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Someone will know better than me, but wasn't it also a case of ' think of the indigenous communities " where there was imports going into the Northern dry communities as extra weight on bans? 

 

 

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On 21/11/2021 at 10:23 AM, Glaukus said:

By the sounds of it, they are talking about pre-processed kava products for drinking, not powdered kava roots? Did I read that correctly?

That's my impression too. But for the purposes of trade and import, wouldn't powdered orange juice (for example) be classified as a beverage?

I've only ever seen powdered kava locally, in the health food store, back in the day (late 1990s). 

 

1 hour ago, waterboy 2.0 said:

Someone will know better than me, but wasn't it also a case of ' think of the indigenous communities " where there was imports going into the Northern dry communities as extra weight on bans? 

The goal of keeping kava out of Indigenous Australian communities wouldn't surprise me in the least. That's what multiculturalism looks like, Down Under. 

 

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On 26/11/2021 at 7:49 AM, waterboy 2.0 said:

Someone will know better than me, but wasn't it also a case of ' think of the indigenous communities " where there was imports going into the Northern dry communities as extra weight on bans? 

 

 

Well that's a straw man argument concocted by the Howard government wasn't it. Yes, indigenous communities were having problems with kava. They also have problems with alcohol, petrol sniffing, and many other things. So, let's take a look at that. Was petrol banned? I suppose Opal ( non sniffable fuel) was introduced in the NT. Alcohol? Well, I've stayed at Uluru and it's freely available if you're white, you just can't buy it if you're black.

So it seems to me, kava was targeted specifically. If you live in a community with no hope because of the systemic racism built into every law, you'd probably be looking for any escape you can find too. 

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On 21/11/2021 at 10:23 AM, Glaukus said:

Edit: just read the statement and I'm disappointed. By the sounds of it, they are talking about pre-processed kava products for drinking, not powdered kava roots?

The Fiji Kava website has powdered root powder for pre-order. My guess it's similar to the 'instant kava' stuff that was going around just before (and immediately after) the Kava ban.

 

No personal importation by individuals allowed, but I consider this a win. If it starts getting popular in Australia, that's certainly a win for Fiji provided there isn't another moral panic.

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14 hours ago, Slocombe said:

The Fiji Kava website has powdered root powder for pre-order. My guess it's similar to the 'instant kava' stuff that was going around just before (and immediately after) the Kava ban.

 

No personal importation by individuals allowed, but I consider this a win. If it starts getting popular in Australia, that's certainly a win for Fiji provided there isn't another moral panic.

Not sure what I was expecting but at $200/kg for powdered kava, it's no cheaper than the grey market stuff available now. It would want to be some seriously good waqa.

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49 minutes ago, Glaukus said:

at $200/kg for powdered kava, it's no cheaper than the grey market stuff available now

Importers will presumably sell it on at a profit. (Individuals being prohibited from importing). So yeah, it'd better be top notch. 

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Been waiting to see how this goes, sucks that it's not open for individual imports though. I'm a fan of the stuff, has helped me cut down on the booze a fair bit but my gosh the taste is disgusting so I'm hoping that we get some people trying preparations that go down easier.

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Still illegal to consume outside of a licensed area in the NT unfortunately as we have an old Kava Management Plan enacted. $20k to apply for a license, $10k to apply for a wholesalers license. I doubt they will, but hopefully they will come to their senses and fall in line with the rest of aust.

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Geopolitical context. The import backflip comes after two Pacific nations established diplomatic ties with China ...

 

 

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-17/kava-imports-pacific-fiji-australia-explainer/11607384

 

 

 

 

 

Deforestation. Richard Markham, a cocoa grower in Fiji and adjunct professor in sustainable development at the University of the Sunshine Coast, said he was worried a kava boom could worsen environmental concerns in an already troubled industry. "The price goes up, then people are looking for bigger tracts of land, and that's when they're going out and clearing rain forests, particularly in search of fertile soil—the kava needs fertile soil, and the easiest way to arrange for that is to burn some forests, which releases the nutrients and you get a decent crop of kava." Those concerns are also being raised in Vanuatu, where the opposition leader Ralph Regenvanu said new kava plantations are the leading cause of deforestation. https://www.abc.net.au/radio-australia/programs/pacificbeat/kava-farmers-exports-concerns/13727246

 

 

 

 

 

Psychosocial activity. Counteracting perceptions of kava's "mind dulling effects" https://www.abc.net.au/radio/sydney/programs/afternoons/kava/13747 and public health concerns:  https://www.abc.net.au/news/2022-02-09/first-shipments-of-kava-arrive-in-australia/13747238

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few of the angles to this story being covered, piecemeal, by the ABC. 

 

 

Edited by fyzygy

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According to Wikipedia entry for "Khat" (note #127) -- there was an Australian Government document named "Import restrictions: Kava and Khat | Office of Drug Control" dated 7 December 2016. The ODC document has been updated in light of the recent Kava reversal; but interesting that these two substances in particular -- long imbibed by (non-white) ethnic communities -- should have suddenly been banned from importation. 

 

 

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