Plans by the Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu to harness the legal marijuana industry may have hit a brick wall as the Federal Government voiced its disapproval of the scheme.
This is in spite of support from the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
The stance of the FG was voiced by the head of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse (PACEDA), Mohammed Buba-Marwa in a statement on Friday, May 17 who stated that no amount of money could be worth the lives of those that would be affected should marijuana be legalised in the country, as being canvassed by Akeredolu and, by extension, NDLEA leadership.
Marwa who was the former military administrator of Lagos State explained the timing is not conducive, considering that the government had been doing everything to eradicate drug abuse in the country.
“It is disturbing that at this time when about 10 million Nigerians are abusing cannabis, anyone or group will be considering or advocating for Nigeria to legalise the growing of marijuana for economic or whatever purposes.
“Our committee has spent the last six months going round the country to obtain firsthand information about the dangers of drug abuse and how to combat it and we have been faced with the stark reality of how deep the menace has damaged and still damaging lives, especially the youths.
“No doubt, President Muhammadu Buhari was worried about this emergency situation, hence the decision to set up PACEDA to find a lasting solution to the threat.
“We should not, therefore, fold our arms or keep sealed lips while deliberate attempts are being made to sabotage the genuine efforts of the Federal Government in the interest of the nation.
“We should not forget so soon how many over-the-counter (OTC) drugs were made prescription medicines when millions of our young minds and adults were abusing such.
“How can we then turn around to call for legalising growing of cannabis when the Federal Government is still in the process of curtailing and eliminating the same?
“We dare say that no economic gain is worth the life of any Nigerian daily damaged on the street as a result of the effect of cannabis.
“There is, therefore, the need for all stakeholders at the federal, state and local government levels to rally round the Federal Government’s efforts at eliminating the menace of drug abuse rather than engaging in any counterproductive venture,” the PACEDA chairman said.