Kava comes from the root of the pepper plant piper methysticum.

It is used in traditional ceremonies and for social occasions in many places in the Pacific Islands.

In the NT, Aboriginal people make a kava drink by mixing the dry, powdered root with water.

The strength of the kava varies greatly on the plant form and how it is prepared.

What's legal

Under the Kava Management Act 1998, you can possess kava in the Northern Territory (NT) if the amount is less than 2 kilograms.

Read section 4 of the Act.

What’s not legal

You cannot possess kava in amounts of more than 2 kilograms.

It is also illegal to do any of the following with kava in the NT:

  • import
  • sell
  • supply
  • cultivate
  • manufacture and produce.

Read more about kava rules in the Act.

Changes to national law

Recent changes to national law have opened avenues for kava to be reintroduced commercially in the NT. But it is still illegal to sell or import kava in the NT.

Read more about these changes on the Department of Industry, Tourism and Trade website.

Last updated: 10 May 2022

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