The Governor of Ondo State Arankunrin Rotimi Akeredolu have given hints that he is interested in legalizing the sale, use, and cultivation of Marijuana popularly known as ‘wewe’, ‘igbo’, Indian hemp, ‘weed’, or Cannabis sativa in the state. He is very determined to see this happen with a recent trip to Thailand, a country where cultivation of Indian help is legal.
The governor added that there was the need for the Federal Government to key into and encourage the cultivation of medicinal Indian hemp in the country.
Akeredolu made this known on Tuesday via his verified Twitter handle @RotimiAkeredolu were he shared his thoughts “that since Ondo is the hotbed of cannabis cultivation,” the state would be short-changing itself if it doesn’t tap into the “legal marijuana market” whose estimated value has been projected to be $145bn by 2025.
He argued that the Federal Government needed to weigh in, saying the industry is capable of creating thousands of jobs for youths and spur the economic diversification of the country.
“Our focus now is medical marijuana cultivation in controlled plantations under the full supervision of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). ”
“I strongly implore the FG to take this seriously, as it is a thriving industry that will create 1000’s of jobs for our youths and spur economic diversification,” the governor said.
He stated on his twitter handle on Tuesday while explaining his recent mission to Thailand.
The governor said he was in Thailand in company of the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, Col. Muhammad Mustapha (rtd) for a programme tagged, ‘Medicinal Cannabis Extract Development.’
Akeredolu said he was in the Asian country to assess the materials and best practices of medicinal cannabis planting and growing, with the possibility of replicating the technology in Nigeria.
He said, “We are here to study how cannabis can be more advantageous to the (Ondo) State and Nigeria at large, just the way Thai Government has done.
“Cannabis is used for medical purposes; how can it be cultivated for specific purposes and not be abused.
“The programme is centred around exploiting the possibility of medicinal cannabis extract development and it is aimed at building capacity and researching the modality of licensing for planting and extracting cannabis oil in Nigeria as well as exploiting its commercial potential with focus on Ondo State.”
“We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. How to grow cannabis is never a problem in Ondo State,” he declared.
I’m similar vein, the then Presidential Candidate of the African Action Alliance (AAA) courted controversy when he said he would legalize cannabis to drive positive GDP if elected president.
While speaking at an event organised by the Centre for Social Justice on Wednesday, September 5, 2018, Sowore said Nigeria can make a lot of money from exporting the psychoactive drug which can be used for medical or recreational purposes.
He said, “We have to start taking care of our weed, igbo, such that we can also contribute to the GDP of the world. Some of the best weed in the world are grown in Ekiti state. I’m very serious and people are making billions out of that particular plant that is very potent in Nigeria. We should be focusing on it.”
Other celebrities that are in open support for legalization of marijuana are Daddy Freeze and Afropop star, Seun Kuti.
Cannabis in Nigeria is illegal yet the country is a major source of West African-grown cannabis, and ranked world’s eight highest consumer of cannabis. Cannabis is widely grown across the States of Nigeria including Ondo State, Edo State, Delta State, Osun State, Oyo State and Ogun State according to Wikipedia.
What does this portend for our mental health in Nigeria? A country where incidences of suicide, depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses has been on the rise.
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