The Governor of Ondo State, Rotimi Akeredolu, has urged the Federal Government to jettison traditional orientation and “achaic” sentiment that cannabis is a “devil’s plant” by setting up legal machineries in motion to enable its use in Nigeria.
He said “cannabis is a multi-billion naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian Economy if judiciously utilised”.
Speaking at a Stakeholders’ Roundtable on the “Benefits and Opportunities of Cannabis Plant in Nigeria” held at the International Culture and Event Center, “The Dome”, Akure, the state capital on Monday, Akeredolu called on the National Assembly to exhibit courage by amending the NDLEA Act that prohibits the consumption of cannabis in Nigeria, stating that “the medical and economic merits of the use of cannabis outweighs its demerits”.
Akeredolu, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, opined that advanced research has shown that the Cannabis certiva has immense economic benefits if well-utilised.
Akeredolu said , “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 we can put it to good and bad use.
“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.”
He urged members of the National Assembly, the NDLEA, the Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria and Research Institutions to have a second and deeper thought on the issue as it holds a great potential in solving the current economic woes in the country.
The Chief Panelist at the Roundtable, Benjamin Kalu, member representing Bende Federal Constituency who doubles as the spokesperson for the House of Representative, agreed with Akeredolu.
He said it has become imperative for Nigeria to review the legislation prohibiting the farming and production of Cannabis for medicinal and industrial use in Nigeria.
While applauding Akeredolu for leading the advocacy for the legalisation of cannabis, Kalu posited that the hemp is a viable prospect for the Nigeria’s diversification efforts.
The Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Diaspora, Tolu Akande-Sadipe, who was also a panelist at the roundtable, expressed optimism that the passage of the Dangerous Drugs Act [Amendment] Bill 2020, currently at second reading, would usher in a new era on medicinal cannabis production and distribution.