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Proposed Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation

Proposed Medicinal Cannabis Cultivation|

THE Governor of Ondo State Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu recently launched a bold move at repositioning medicinal cannabis business in Nigeria, when he revealed government’s intention to encourage regulated cultivation of the product.

In his characteristic openness, Akeredolu declared in faraway Malaysia that Ondo State would soon go into its production because of its numerous benefits. Not a few detractors saw the negative aspect of the lofty and foresighted visionary move that had been utilized by many other countries and people in the world.

MUCH as one could excuse the ignorant ones, it is however painful that some have decided to close their eyes and ears to the facts and figures showing the immense benefits the state stand to reap from the production of cannabis in the controlled and well-regulated environment. The intention was to take after countries like Canada, Switzerland, Jamaica, United States of America, Belize, Australia, Italy, Uruguay, Ukraine among others. It is unfortunate that some people, probably out of mischief, still hold on to the narrow-minded belief that Indian hemp is bad and can  lead to madness and thus nothing good can ever come out of the product. They have since  refused to bow to superior arguments on the numerous potentials and immense advantages inherent in the cultivation of cannabis.

IN his usual persuasive and democratic approach to governance, efforts at various fora have been made by the administration at sensitizing  people on the need for the state to pioneer the cultivation in Nigeria.  Canada today relies heavily on cannabis production for its foreign exchange. Some countries are also reaping windfalls too.  Marijuana is recognized all over the scientific world as having very great medicinal value needed for the production of some vital drugs, especially anesthetics, in treating diseases like glaucoma. So, marijuana as a drug is not the problem but its abuse. In this situation, The Hope believes that we should not throw the baby and the bathwater away. It will be unfair to throw this great idea away because of few negative effects that may be derived from the use of cannabis.

THE HOPE believes that all hands ought to be on deck now that the government has let the world know that the production is not targeted at local consumption but for international market, where it will be turned into chemical products. More reassuring is the revelation that it will be cultivated under highly controlled atmosphere where the various drug administration agencies would be actively involved in the production processes to ensure that the raw material (cannabis)and its refined end products do not get into wrong hands or abused.

THE HOPE sees the innovative idea of going to the production of cannabis as a lofty one, because even apart from the foreign market target, local usage under a recognized physician of cannabis therapy is approved in many countries of the world and will be of immense benefit to the people of Ondo State. It is believed justifiably that government delving into cannabis production, albeit under strict control, will discourage its illicit production.

IT will remove from the street those who have gone into drug abuse. In as much as we have not banned the consumption of tobacco, there is no reason the plan to go into controlled production of cannabis should not be encouraged. It is universally accepted that countries should make use of whatever it has comparative advantage over others and since scientific studies have confirmed that the Nigerian species of cannabis is of a very high quality, Nigeria should utilize this money- spinning avenue to make money, more so when dependency over crude oil is gradually waning by the day

WE recall that Nigerians swung into massive production of cassava when they realized the immense financial rewards and employment opportunities we stand to benefit from it, and today, we are the better for it. In like manner, we should tap into the great rewards of investing in cannabis production, as many Nigerians from various walks of life and professional callings, will make their living through the controlled cannabis production which Akeredolu is proposing.

NIGERIANS, and especially the people of Ondo State, should not allow their colonial, biased stigma against Indian hemp rob us of the great benefits it promises, so they can so have their own share of the $1trillion the industry is projected to bring in a few year`s time.

Owena Press Limited (Publisher of The Hope Newspaper), Akure

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