by Blessing Okesola
• Rejects proposal to legalise marijuana in Nigeria
Cannabis farmers were arrested on their farms by officials of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) during an operation in Ughieudu Uhumwonde Local Government Area (LGA) of Edo state.
The Principal Staff Officer (PSO) Operations, Edo state command of the Agency, Kennedy Obedeke, told journalist that those cannabis farmers were discovered through intelligence.
Mr Kennedy said that the operation to apprehend the suspected cannabis farmers had been ongoing for days, adding that NDLEA will not relent in the fight against illicit drugs.
One of the suspects who claimed to be the manager of the farm told journalists that he was being paid N120,000 annually by the owner of the farms.
Recall that the House of Representatives spokesman Benjamin Kalu had sometime in June at a press conference in Akure, Ondo state, called for the legalisation of cannabis in Nigeria.
Under the Dangerous Drugs Act (DDA), 1935 and Indian Hemp Act (IHA), 1966, it is a criminal offence to plant, harvest and consume cannabis in Nigeria.
The cultivation and sale of the substance for health if legalised in Nigeria has been projected to hit about $145 billion in 2025, according to Ondo state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu.
If there was any hope that the NDLEA was open to the idea of legalisation, that hope was dashed by the Agency’s Director of Media and Advocacy, Femi Babafemi.
In response to Kalu, Babafemi said, “When it becomes easily available, you will have a generation of addicts to deal with. Legalising it will also make us be dealing with cases of mental disorder and work accident.”
Medical experts have also argued that taking marijuana “affects sexual potency in men, and alters the menstrual cycle of women.”