Q&A on the News

Q: Recently there was an article about a man arrested for transporting khat through Georgia. Is khat illegal in the U.S.?

-- Philip Warner, Lilburn

A: According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, khat is illegal in the United States. Capt. Mark Mayton, the commander of the Bartow-Cartersville Drug Task Force, told Q&A on the News that Hussein Dahir Sheikaden, 31, was charged with possession of a schedule I narcotic with the intent to distribute. He said khat, a flowering evergreen shrub native to East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, is legal in some European countries as well. The plant is chewed like tobacco and induces "manic behavior with grandiose delusions," according to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. Sheikaden, of Stone Mountain, was arrested last month in Bartow County with at least $250,000 worth of the drug.

Q: Is it legal to own an alligator in Georgia?

-- Mike Cooper, Dunwoody

A: By Georgia law, most native species of wildlife such as alligators cannot be held without permits or licenses, Melissa Cummings, a spokeswoman for the Georgia Department of Natural Resources' Wildlife Resources Division, told Q&A on the News. She wrote in an e-mail that these licenses are not issued for the purpose of holding native wildlife as pets. Cummings added that alligators can be kept by only those possessing a wildlife exhibition permit (where the animal is used for educational purposes, such as a zoo) or facilities licensed for an alligator farming operation.

Lori Johnston wrote this column. Do you have a question about the news? We’ll try to get the answer. Call 404-222-2002 or e-mail q&a@ajc.com (include name, phone and city).

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