From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, National Drug Law Enforcement Agency(NDLEA), Brig. Gen. Mohammed Marwa (Retd) has drawn a battle line with Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, over plans to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medical purposes.
The governor had disclosed plan by his administration to grow marijuana, also known as Indian hemp, cannabis or Igbo, for economic and medical reasons.
Akeredolu said cannabis could be a strong foreign exchange earner for Nigeria if its cultivation was legalised for medical use.
But Marwa faulted the governor’s position, yesterday, at a media briefing to herald the weeklong programme of activities in commemoration of the United Nations (UN) International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.
Marwa referred Akeredolu to the UNDOC World Cannabis report of 2019 where it was stated that 20 million Nigerians are consumers of cannabis making it the highest country using the drug.
“We know that it has mind altering substances. This is a demonstration that nations must continue to exercise strict control because of the negative consequences.Yes, the use of cannabis for medical purposes is approved in some countries; not in all. And we have to look at our own circumstances. It is possible, a time will come for us to re-think, but this is not the time. This is definitely not the time for Nigeria with highest prevalence of use of drugs. Go to Lagos State, the drug prevalence is 36 per cent from that survey, most of which is cannabis. NDLEA will continue to burn any farm that it is found and arrest perpetrators of cannabis cultivation. It is dangerous, it is bad for our health and we will not agree as far as we are concern.”
The NDLEA boss prophesied doom for the proposed Cannabis Control Bill 2020, pending before the House of Representatives, as he expressed doubt on the possibility of its passage into law.