A Kenyan has petitioned the Senate in push for marijuana, popularly known as bhang, to be legalised in the country.
Gwada Ogot, from Siaya County, argues in part that the plant - scientifically known as Cannabis Sativa – has multiple documented benefits.
He says the medicinal and industrial uses of the plant, upon its legalisation, will be of 'great social and economic gains'.
Section 3 (2) (a) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act lists cannabis as a banned substance.
The law states that possession or personal use of the drug is
And Ogot wants marijuana expunged from the list and a new law legislated to establish a regulatory body to govern its use.
The petitioner further recommends that all the people serving jail sentences either for possession, cultivation, transportation, sale or use of the plant be granted amnesty.
In supporting his proposals, Ogot argues that as at December last year, several US states and at least 25 countries had decriminalised the use of cannabis.
He further points out that: "The crime and controversy around marijuana emanate from its prohibition and not from the plant itself, its uses or users,"
A compound in marijuana known as cannabidiol (CBD) has been found by scientists as fit for treatment of schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion and behavior.
Patients who suffer from the ailment exhibit faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings.
Such persons are also withdrawn from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.
Clinical trials in both animals and humans have found CBD as having antipsychotic effects due to its anxiety-reducing effects.
The above findings are the basis for the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal uses in US states like Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts and
The Senate’s Committee on Health was tasked to review the petition and respond to Ogot within 60 days.
Senators were on Wednesday granted half an hour to make comments and clarifications on the petition.