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MELBOURNE, Australia (January 1, 20001 – Radio Australia)---The growing popularity of kava has law enforcement officials in Hawai‘i and other areas of the United States concerned about those who take to the road after drinking the popular Pacific brew.

In California, a San Mateo county judge earlier this month tossed out a case involving a man who drank 23 cups of kava before climbing behind the wheel.

He was pulled over after weaving onto a road shoulder and charged with driving under the influence of a drug.

But the judge dismissed the case, citing a lack of evidence regarding kava's effects.

Earlier this year, a similar case against a kava drinker from San Bruno, California ended in a mistrial after jurors found not enough was known about the drink.

Kava is not illegal under Hawai‘i law, but with kava bars proliferating, law enforcement officials say they are increasingly concerned about drivers who are under the herbal root's influence.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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