I get it: Kava makes your mouth go numb, and your body feel light. It's that "intoxicated feeling" without getting shit faced with alcohol or drugs. Here's the problem I have: As a Samoan, I can't begin to tell you the frustration I feel seeing this ceremonial drink being peddled to the masses as a "safer alternative to alcohol". It is essentially being bastardized for profit. (It might not be a large profit, but if you're a business selling Kava, you're a business in to make a profit from it.) Anyone who claims they appreciate and love the tradition of Kava shouldn't turn around and say "but it'll be a good fit for the PNW, because we have so many beer drinkers!" No thank you.
Anyone can (and should) learn the historical, traditional roots of Kava. But with that said, anyone can do a quick read about the origins of Kava online and then suddenly feel they understand the meaning behind this drink, not once feeling that perhaps they are appropriating a sacred part of a Pacific Island culture for their own "feel good" benefit. As one guy told me, "I like the feeling of being sort of high, without really being high."

This is a sacred drink to many Pacific Islanders, a drink that is traditionally prepared and revered for only the most special of occasions, and we have people buying and consuming it, happily remarking on how it's the best way to feel high without really being high; the worst part, however, is the white dude who appropriated it because he knew it'd be a hot ticket item here in Portland. That's not appreciation; that's appropriation.

Let's not be dipshits, okay?

A frustrated Samoan