12 Jun 2014

German court overturns kava ban

5:16 am on 12 June 2014

One of Germany's highest courts has ruled that Germany's ban on products containing kava is unlawful and inappropriate.

The decision by Germany's Federal Administrative Court overturns a ban brought in 2002 because of public health authorities' fears over kava's toxicity.

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Photo: RNZ

The court found the risk of using kava was not unusually high and mere doubts over a medicinal product did not justify it being banned.

A Vanuatu-based researcher who provided scientific evidence at the trial, Vincent Lebot, says the victory comes after a hard-fought battle lasting 12 years which has had an impact on exports to the EU and the US.

"It's a clear victory for all of us who know that when kava is properly used with the right varieties cultivated with the right agricultural practices in a reasonable way, we know that it's not a dangerous product."

Dr Lebot says the region's kava trade is still under threat as there are serious problems with the quality of kava being exported from the region.