The Guardian Nigeria reports.….In October 2020, the House of Representatives proposed a bill seeking to legalise the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis, also known as marijuana or Indian hemp.
The bill, which has passed through second reading in the House of Representatives, was sponsored by Miriam Onuoha, the lawmaker representing Isiala Mbano/Onuimo/ Okigwe federal constituency of Imo State on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It is titled “A bill for an act to decriminalise the growth and use of cannabis, to establish a system for the registration and licensing of cannabis growers, users and control, to legalise the growth, sale and use of cannabis and set out a legal framework for the registration and licensing of cannabis growers and producers in Nigeria; and for related matters.”
Essentially, the bill is seeking “to regulate the cultivation, possession, availability and trade in cannabis for medical and research purposes.”
Among the objectives of the proposed law is to: “Provide for a registration and licensing system for cannabis farmers and processors; regulate the cultivation, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medical purposes and promote public awareness about the cultivation, processing, availability and trade in cannabis for medicinal and research purposes and its use in relation to medical or health purpose.”
However, the bill prohibits issuance of cannabis licence for medical use if such a person is without a proof that “he is either a medical doctor and intends to use it for medical purposes or a pharmaceutical company who intends to use an amount of cannabis, which may be determined as required, in producing a medicine for the cure of a certain disease or an epidemic.”
When the bill is passed, Nigeria will join the league of 30 other countries that have legalised the use of cannabis. They include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark and Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Italy, Poland and Jamaica. The rest are Luxemburg, Switzerland, Macedonia, Tury, Malta, Mexico, Uruguay, Lesotho, Romania, Dan Marino and Zimbabwe.
As legislative works continue on the bill, Nigerians have been arguing for and against it. In fact, more than a year before the presentation of the bill, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State had kick-started the move for the legalisation of cannabis cultivation and use in Nigeria.