The call for legal cultivation of marijuana

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THE Ondo State government and the Federal Government appear to be headed for a showdown after both the state chief executive, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu and the chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), General Mohammed Marwa (retd), both staked out sharply divergent positions on the question of the legal cultivation of cannabis, a.k.a. Indian hemp, in the country. Following a fact-finding mission to Thailand where the military-appointed National Legislative Assembly voted unanimously in 2018 to allow the use of cannabis under medical supervision, Governor Akeredolu had taken to his official twitter handle to express his support for the legalisation of marijuana for medical purposes, urging the Federal Government not to turn its back on an industry with the potential to generate $145billion in sales and spark a jobs boom. No doubt to assuage the Federal Government’s fears on drug abuse, the governor also mooted the idea of “controlled plantations under the full supervision of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency.”

But the Federal Government was having none of it. In his response (though, granted, he did not mention the governor by name), General Marwa dismissed the proposal on the ground that no amount of money realised from the legal sale of cannabis could offset the probable social damage from marijuana use. Said General Marwa: “It is disturbing that at this time when about 10

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