Kenya: NACADA Insists Marijuana Still Prohibited Amid Calls to Legalize It

Nairobi — The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA) has warned that stern action will be taken against anyone found in possession of or trading cannabis in the country.

In a statement, the authority indicated that under Kenyan Law, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act provides for the medical and scientific use of cannabis but recreational and commercial trade remains prohibited.

"During the electioneering period and prior, there have been callas for legalization of cannabis for recreational use. Let be known that the law is still in force and that anyone contravening this law i.e. being in possession or trading in cannabis will be apprehended," a part of the statement said.

NACADA's statement came after Roots Party Presidential Candidate George Wajakoyah promised to legalize bhang if elected in the August 9 General Election.

During his manifesto launch on Thursday last week, Wajakoyah said that an acre of Marijuana can earn a farmer Sh8 million per harvest.

He argued that the sale of Marijuana will help the country pay its public debt which is close to Sh9 trillion.

"The whole of Nyeri county is 583,000 acres. This means that if we grew Bangi in Nyeri county, Nyeri residents will earn $45 Billion or Shs.4.6 trillion per harvest," he said.

"And because Bangi is harvested twice a year, it means Nyeri residents will earn $92 Billion or Shs.9.2 trillion every year," he said, amid Tingiza Mti slogan in the background.

Wajakoyah said that if the country grew Marijuana in Nyeri alone, the country would build two expressways in each county in Kenya.

He added that if Marijuana is grown in Nyeri alone, each Kenyan could get a dividend cheque of Sh200,000 every year from the sale of bhang.

"Mt. Kenya was made wealthy by two cash crops-coffee and tea. In fact, Kikuyus got their economic head-start head start in 1923 when they were allowed to grow coffee and tea. Before 1923, it was illegal for any indigenous Kenyan to grow both crops," he said

However, NACADA noted that some of the statements made in favor of legalization are misleading as they are intended to elicit excitements amongst the people especially the youth.

In Africa, only South Africa has permitted the recreational use of cannabis (however, they have put very many stringent measures. For instance, one cannot use cannabis in public. Other countries such as Morocco, Rwanda, Uganda, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbambwe and Malawi have permitted the commercial growing and trade in cannabis but, the recreational use remains prohibited.

In the US, only 19 out of 50 states have legalized the recreational use of cannabis. However, the use and possession of marijuana is still illegal under the federal law. As such, one can only be in possession of cannabis within the state it is permitted.

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