Legalize Marijuana -Akeredolu


For the umpteenth time, Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, has made a case for the legalisation of Cannabis Sativa in Nigeria. The governor made the call recently at a stakeholders’ meeting where he spoke on the benefits of the plant widely grown in the country.
He opined that the time has come for the federal government to jettison its traditional orientation and archaic sentiments which hold that cannabis is the devil’s plant. According to him, “Cannabis is a multi-billion naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian Economy if judiciously utilized as according to him, the medical and economic merits of the use of cannabis outweigh its demerits.”
Akeredolu, who appears unperturbed about possible negative public perception over his position, pointed out that opinions against the legalization of the plant are as a result of the ignorance of people about the numerous benefits of the plant, adding that advanced research has shown that cannabis has immense economic benefits if well utilized.
“The planet earth has a constant period of darkness and light every 24 hours which we call night and day. In like manner, just like every other crop or plant, Cannabis Sativa has both CBD and THC content which can be put to good and bad uses. Products with extract of Cannabis Sativa are already in our pharmaceutical sales outlets across the country. They are being imported with foreign exchange and sold at exorbitant prices with additional, but avoidable stress on our Naira,” the governor pointed out.
Akeredolu disclosed that he made the discovery while in Thailand alongside members of his cabinet during his first term in office. The trip was designed to help his administration carry out a study on how the Asian country facilitated the decriminalization of the cultivation, processing and export of Cannabis Sativa. According to him, the trip provided him the opportunity to know the immense benefits that comes along from controlled cultivation of the plant.
“My visit to Thailand was an eye-opener. We saw forest reserve used in the past to cultivate and process hard drugs transformed to be meaningfully utilized in an environmentally friendly way for healthy ventures. We saw people previously sold on hard drugs engaged in legitimate business ventures.
What we are therefore advocating for in Nigeria is simply controlled cultivation of pharmaceutical standard cannabis strictly for medical purpose. I am saying necessary laws must be amended to give room for it. I am not saying it should be a free-for-all venture. Those investing in it must be licensed under strict control.
We must find a way to legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. There is nothing wrong about it. We are only shooting ourselves in the foot. It is a foreign exchange earner for people outside the country. People want this. We ourselves, even our pharmacies want to develop,” he said.
Akeredolu who revealed that his state has one of the best Cannabis on earth, capable of creating a million dollars’ industry not only for the people of the state but the country in general, explained that in 2019, the global market of Cannabis stood at $52.8b adding that the market forecast has an average 14.5% increase from the year 2020, estimated to reach $103.9b by 2024.
He therefore urged members of the National Assembly, NDLEA, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and Research Institutions to have a second and deeper thought about cannabis noting that it holds great potential in solving the current economic woes in the country.

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