Despite being an illegal substance, Cannabis has found a way to touch the hearts of Nigerians. Many leaders of Nigeria have talked a lot about legalizing Cannabis to generate revenue, employment opportunities, improve the foreign exchange market and benefit the growth of the economy.
While some leaders have agreed on legalizing the plant, others just do not want to stick towards legalization and criticize those who try to advocate the legalization of Cannabis in the country. Even though cannabis has some positive medical-related benefits, there are some particular reasons it might not be accepted as a legal product within the country.
Below are some of the views shared by the leaders of Nigeria.
Views of Leaders Regarding Cannabis Legalization
Mr. Olufemi Awoyemi, founder of one of the most prestigious platforms, “Proshare” and a man who isn’t afraid to speak his mind believes “it’s past time for Nigeria to enter the lucrative medical marijuana industry.”
Furthermore, Awoyemi mentioned that “there is a great deal of misunderstanding in our society about what marijuana is“. He added, “It’s a leaf that grows naturally in at least six states of Nigeria where size and scale offer a compelling case for an agricultural economic zone.” He further added, “It’s an agricultural product that has many uses and offers such by-products that collectively must be harnessed, regulated, and exploited for the benefit of everyone.”
As per Awoyemi, “the degree of knowledge and understanding about Cannabis that we have now was not accessible when many countries passed laws criminalizing it. But, as we’ve seen in Nigeria, research, information exchange, and economic insights have proven that marijuana, or cannabis, offers a wide range of health and aesthetic advantages when processed and administered appropriately.” He gave an example as, “various female hair products that openly advertise that they include ‘Indian hemp’ to add strength and body to women’s hair in our shops and marketplaces today.”
Mr. Rotimi Akeredolu, the executive governor of Ondo State, said in early 2019 that the state may look into Cannabis growing for therapeutic purposes as part of its efforts to generate jobs and economic growth in the country. Due to the substance’s reputation and addictive potential, the idea sparked widespread outrage. Cannabis is now grown, harvested, and consumed a lot in Nigeria however it is still found on the list of banned substances in the country.
Even though Cannabis is considered to have a lot of health-related benefits, especially for women, it is even noted that the product is used a lot in salons for women’s hair growth and beauty. Furthermore, many peer-reviewed studies have supported the medical claims including Cannabis’ abilities to induce relaxation that can help fight off mental ailments.
Mr. Benjamin Okezie, Chairman of the House of Representatives (HOR) Committee on Media and Public Affairs, stated recently at a news conference in Akure that the “government is stepping up efforts to diversify the economy via agriculture, and that Indian hemp is a vital part of that goal.” “Industrial hemp is a strain of the Cannabis Sativa plant that is produced particularly for industrial purposes”, he explained.
“The crop produces a large output of edible proteins and fibers, with over 50,000 product uses once harvested.” He stated that the Dangerous Drugs Act Amendment Bill, 2020 has been submitted to the House of Representatives for consideration. If approved, the bill could revolutionize the Cannabis industry in Nigeria, producing millions of jobs all across the country and making billions in revenues.
For people leafing with Cannabis, the approval of the bill will not only make Cannabis legal for medical use but also, provides an opportunity to experiment with Cannabis for its recreational purposes.