Nigerian parliament moves to legalise marijuana

Members of the Nigerian House of Representatives have proposed a bill for the legalisation and usage of non-toxicant cannabis plants for trading, medical and scientific research and cultivation to bolster the country’s non-oil revenues.

Miriam Onuoha, representing Okigwe North Federal Constituency, sponsored the Cannabis Control Bill 2020. The legislation, which has passed second reading, was titled: ‘A Bill for an Act to Regulate the Cultivation, Possession, Availability and Trade of Cannabis for Medical and Research Use and Related Purposes.’

Ms. Onuoha said the bill, amongst many other purposes, would provide regulation for the cultivation, possession, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medicinal and researching purposes.

The bill also has provisions to punish abusers and violators. 

“A person who grows, produces or sells cannabis not for medical purpose and does not present the particulars required for registration under section 12(1) of the proposed bill commits an offence and shall be liable upon conviction to imprisonment for two years or a fine not exceeding #1,000,000 or both,” Ms. Onuoha said. 

Other aspects of the bill also said a licensed trader who exceeds limits of prescribed dose to a buyer would risk imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or a fine not less than N500,000 or both.

Debates to legalise marijuana due to its high consumption across Nigeria have flared for several years. In the run up to the 2019 elections, rights campaigner and online news publisher, Omoyele Sowore, suggested that legalising marijuana for local consumption and export could boost the country’s internally-generated revenues and also shore up foreign exchange transactions.

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