The Health Directorate has announced that kava will once again be gracing Beer And Meat On A Stick Day:
“The Pacific Island community has expressed the importance of kava use to their culture. This exemption will allow Pacific Island people to observe their customs on the occasion of the National Multicultural Festival each year, ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Kelly said.
“In February 2012, I declared a trial exemption for the National Multicultural Festival which was generally regarded as a success.
“Since that time, the Health Directorate has undertaken a consultation process with ACT Pacific Island community regarding details of the proposed exemption, particularly in seeking to define ‘cultural use’.
Kava is listed as a prescription only medicine in the ACT, which means that traditional forms of kava are not legally permitted. Kava may only be used in preparations prescribed by a doctor.
The new section 864 of the Medicines, Poisons and Therapeutic Goods Regulation 2008 specifies that the Minister can declare that a public event is exempt from the prescription only requirements for kava.
“The cultural use of traditional kava preparations poses a low health risk and clear limits have been placed on the exemption,” Dr Kelly said.
“Kava may only be legally prepared, possessed or consumed in accordance with the customs of the Pacific Islands, such as serving from a traditional kava bowl as part of a traditional kava ceremony or kava circle.
“Kava may also only be used within the physical boundaries of the National Multicultural Festival on the days of the event.
“I am confident the ACT Pacific Island community will welcome this exemption and ensure that kava is only used in accordance with their customs,” Dr Kelly concluded.
For the curious trust me when I say on a hot day with a skinful of assorted beers the last thing you need is a slug of kava.