MARIJUANA IN KENYA

Time to open debate on legalising bhang

In Summary

• Five percent of Nairobi respondents in a Radio Africa survey say that they will vote for
Wajackoyah in the presidential election

• The main plank of his Roots Party manifesto is that he legalise marijuana or bhang

An employee sorts freshly harvested cannabis buds at a medical marijuana plantation.
An employee sorts freshly harvested cannabis buds at a medical marijuana plantation.
Image: FILE

The latest Radio Africa opinion poll shows that five percent of respondents in Nairobi will vote for Prof George Wajackoyah in the August presidential election. This is a remarkable figure since the only other candidates to register are Raila Odinga and William Ruto.

Yet the main plank of his Roots Party manifesto is simply that he will legalise marijuana or bhang if elected President.

It would be very easy to dismiss this as a protest vote by citizens who are fed up with the mainstream politicians who seem never to deliver on their promises.

But there are real reasons why Kenya should seriously consider legalising marijuana.

Firstly, it undercuts criminal gangs who profit from selling an illegal drug. If it is legal, it can be sold openly and cheaply but with tax being paid.

Secondly, marijuana is no worse a recreational drug than alcohol which is highly addictive.

Thirdly, marijuana is useful for pain relief in medical treatment.

Fourthly, legally-grown marijuana has considerable export potential (even if that is overstated by Wajackoyah).

So, whoever becomes President, let's start a serious debate about whether it is time to legalise marijuana or bhang.

Quote of the day: "Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can."

Arthur Ashe
He became the first black man to win Wimbledon on July 5, 1975

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