Kenya softens stance on cannabis after legalization in Rwanda

Kenyan MP thinks government should legalize

Senior Education and Research Secretary Simon Nabukwesi urged further research into the health benefits of marijuana and miraa. On the other hand, Kenyan Rastafarians have asked Kenya's High Court to decriminalize cannabis use, claiming that smoking marijuana is part of their religious practice.

Business begins to trump morality in Africa's cannabis industry

The prospect of cannabis legalization in Africa, unimaginable less than a decade ago, is accelerating, driven by the potential for much-needed income and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. Africa's legal marijuana industry could worth up to $ 7,1 billion by 2023 according to Prohibition Partners, a research and advisory firm specializing in the legal cannabis industry. This projection focused on the legal and regulated cannabis markets in South Africa in Zimbabwe in Lesotho, Nigeria, Morocco, Malawi, Ghana, in eSwatini and in Zambia.

The secretary clarified that Kenya needs scientific results to justify the consumption of these two products and asks scientists to determine if these products have beneficial effects for health.

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Speaking at the Biosciences Research Center at Pwani University in Kilifi, Nabukwesi noted that the issue of miraa and marijuana use cannot be addressed only politically, but needs to be addressed. look at science.

“We are told that consuming miraa is a health hazard when the plant is chewed, but what is the real danger? Rather, our researchers should tell us about the health benefits so that people can be enlightened and know the benefits. It is necessary that people in countries with high consumption of miraa know the value of chewing the plant. which can help us develop our markets internationally, ”he added.

the miraa or khat or ghat
Mirra called "khat" contains the alkaloid cathinone, a stimulant that is believed to cause arousal, loss of appetite and euphoria. Among communities in the regions where the plant is native, chewing khat has a history as a social custom stretching back thousands of years, analogous to the use of coca leaves in South America and betel nut. in Asia.

PS Nabukwesi also said Kenya could find markets in the UK for miraa, which was heavily consumed before the government banned the product. The statement comes as a number of politicians, led by Senator Ledama Ole Kina, have urged the government to consider legalizing marijuana for export.

On September 22, 2020, a audiovisual media of the senator appeared as he showed a large plot of marijuana plantation on his trip to Lithuania. The lawmaker spoke to, and revealed that he plans to revive the 2018 bill from former Kibra MP, the late Ken Okoth, which sought to legalize bhang.

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He explained that he was considering this move for “health reasons and also for commercial reasons related to hemp. "

In the video, Ledama is seen nearly buried by the plants as he lists the plant's medical benefits which has been a source of debate over the years.

“I am in a field belonging to a company located in Lithuania. What you can see here is marijuana that's bigger than me. Why in Kenya are we still so reluctant and still think this drug is illegal? " 

In July 2021, Rwanda became the first country in East Africa to legalize the medical use of marijuana. The country has moved closer to mass production and exporting this multibillion dollar cash crop.
Undated image of a marijuana plantation

Tags : AfricaLaw

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