By Saheed Ibrahim
President of Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), Nigeria chapter, Mr Olufemi Bashorun has advised state and federal governments to exploit the medicinal cannabis market to boost the nation’s crumbling economy.
This call came on the heels of the negative effect of COVID-19 on the nation’s economy.
Bashorun, while speaking in an exclusive interview with The Hope yesterday, revealed that with the current coronavirus pandemic that has collapsed the country and global economy, there is need for government at all levels to look beyond crude oil, adding that the medicinal cannabis market will boost the nation’s economy tremendously.
He explained that the medicinal cannabis market grew by 46% in 2019 and is expected to grow exceedingly in few years to come.
Bahorun, who acknowledged that Ondo state has a huge plantation of the plant, said that the state governor should ensure he exploits the medicinal cannabis market in order to boost the economy of the state, adding that the Sunshine state can compete favourably with the likes of Lagos state in term of revenue generation should the Federal Government key into the vision of Arakunrin Akeredolu on medicinal marijuana cultivation.
The leader of the group, which has been advocating for friendly drug policies in Nigeria and at the global village, stated that with proper regulations and measures put in place to manage the cultivation and market, Ondo and federal governments will have a regular source of income and ensure the cultivation is not abused.
“With proper and friendly regulatory policies, coupled with low tax rates, which allows citizens to access the health benefits of cannabis will out-perform the illicit market, and create a healthy tax revenue stream directly to the state’s government,”Bashorun said.
“We have to apply modern jurisdiction had removed the prohibition on the commercial production, distribution, and sale of it. The Federal government charges granting production and processing licenses and developing regulations for legal marijuana, and states like Ondo could follow.
There are modern examples of marijuana regulation, thereby assisting our policymakers on how to manage a marijuana market. Legalisation comes with regulations clearly stated out and implemented to prevent misuse or abuse. Cannabis can be legally produced and dispensed in a responsible manner following laid down rules, guidelines and regulations”, he concluded.