While my kava-loving soul has been lifted of late, with the recent removal of a kava ban in Germany – it still hurts to see that there are places still rejecting the import of kava and its use. South Pacific islands thrive when their top exports, including kava, are loved and bought around the world. These islands don’t do very well when these exports aren’t accepted – and what’s worse is when they’re accepted and then suddenly rejected on a mass level.
This is what happened with kava out of Vanuatu. When kava was subject to a series of bans back in 2002 throughout several kava-consuming nations, the South Pacific islands were greatly and negatively affected. According to Roy Mickey Joy – the Vanuatu Ambassador to the European Union – Vanuatu and other kava producing nations have lost earnings of 3 Billion US dollars on an annual basis due to the decline in kava exports as a result of the bans . This 3 billion-dollar figure is an estimate that was announced by the Pacific members of the ACP – the African, Caribbean, and Pacific states – at a recent Meeting of the Ministers of the ACP held in Nairobi .
Mr. Joy is a member of the International Kava Executive Council (IKEC) and clearly someone who believes in the benefit of kava for his nation’s economical wellness and prosperity. The following definition of the IKEC and its practice was taken from the homepage of www.ikec.org – the official home of the IKEC .
“The IKEC is an international organization consisting of delegates from the Pacific and the EU, focusing on re-establishing the kava trade between the kava-producing South Pacific Island States and the countries of the European Union.” 
They are an organization that is non-governmental and non-profit, rather solely constituted of volunteers who are adamant about progressing the kava trade out of the Pacific to Europe and worldwide. Most of their current focus has been on ban repeal  and it is on these grounds that Mr. Joy has made his recent declaration to members of the EU – insisting that they lift their bans on kava. Specifically, Mr. Joy has called upon Australia and New Zealand to consider the lifting of their kava export bans, in hopes that Vanuatu can resurface from the economic downfall caused by the kava bans .
According to Radio New Zealand International, Mr. Joy has stated that Australia and New Zealand followed in step with the EU’s ban on kava twelve years ago, back in early 2002, banning the import of kava from Vanuatu and other South Pacific kava-growing regions. Accordingly, he went on to explain that the German ban repeal of last month had shown that “there is no legal nor scientific basis to justify it” .
Unfortunately today there are still countries that ban kava, if not entirely then at least in part. For example, Canada still disallows the sale of kava. However, bans restricting import from vendors outside of Canada – for personal use – are no longer standing. In many nations still, like in Canada, kava is partially banned – whether it be the banning of direct commercial sales or otherwise. Currently there are only two larger nations that have strict laws about kava regulating its use and import – that is Britain and France; their laws are much more widespread and restricting than anti-sale laws like that of Canada’s. In actuality though, it appears as though Poland is the only European country that has full anti-kava laws – ie. it is illegal to sell or cultivate kava and is also illegal to possess it at all .
Other countries’ laws regarding kava are so nondescript and elusive that determining the legality of any activity involving kava is incredibly difficult – just by a sheer lack of knowledge surrounding kava’s exact legal status. For example, while Australian officials state that kava isn’t actually illegal – the import of kava into Australia is incredibly difficult. However, when it comes to individual use of kava, the border regulations are a bit loose, allowing individuals to bring up to around 4 pounds of kava into the country for personal use .
My kava guru intuition is telling me that a loosening of bans on a global scale is going to continue as nations and individuals become more educated and understand the benefits that this Earth provides – including a better understanding of how to use the Piper methysticum plant, or kava kava, as it was intended to be used. I have faith that officials will come to learn of the many benefits and wonders of the kava plant and will become so entranced by its qualities that they will join in the battle to have kava universally accepted as the natural health contributor that it is.
Mr. Joy’s efforts are part of what is turning into a global movement toward a health-conscious world and the acceptance of kava worldwide. I’m truly so excited to see what nations are next and cannot wait to share the next bit of progress with you – my fellow kava lovers!
1. International Kava Executive Council. “News”: http://www.ikec.org/?q=node/10.
2. Kona Kava Farm. “Kava Banned Countries”: http://www.konakavafarm.com/kava-banned-countries.html.
3. Radio New Zealand International. “Vanuatu Wants Kava Bans Lifted”:http://www.radionz.co.nz/international/pacific-news/249183/vanuatu-wants-kava-bans-lifted.