Raila Junior Odinga has come out to champion for legalisation of marijuana in the country.
Junior, the former Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s son, says marijuana has a lot of medicinal and financial benefits.
He says when he posted on social media about his support for marijuana, he was tackling a subject many people have always avoided, yet it is around us and affecting the society.
To him, society is evolving and there is need to openly and honestly talk about marijuana and other subjects treated as taboo yet their effects are devastating.
Junior likens marijuana debate to openly discussing mental illness. “In Africa, there are many cases of mental illness but few people come out to admit they are suffering from mental illness because of stigma,” he says.
“I have always been liberal in my views. I posted on social media, with a great feeling that there’s need to legalise medical marijuana, as it is something that can help Kenya, especially sick people who will need marijuana their treatment,” he said.
He explains, from his understanding on various medical researches that marijuana can be used to ease chronic pain of cancer victims, treat HIV patients and is an appetizer.
Junior lauds Kibra MP Ken Okoth, who has since presented a Bill in Parliament on marijuana.
“From that Bill, marijuana can be prescribed just like any other medication. It should not be something you get on the streets, but something a medical doctor will have to prescribe for anyone who qualifies to use, administer and monitor just like any other drugs,” he explains.
The former premier’s son says he took to social media to call for legalisation of the weed following reports that police in Kiambu arrested Njoroge Mbugua after confessing that he grows marijuana in Nguruibi plains, Limuru.
To him, the punishment meted on suspects found guilty of possession of the weed such as imprisonment of 10, or 20 years or even life imprisonment is harsh.
“After the arrest, l put up a tweet explaining that actually the guy was just doing his hustle, and that marijuana should be legalised. In my view this wasn’t actually a criminal activity,” says Junior.
He says America and Canada are minting millions of dollars in revenue from marijuana, and wonders why Kenya shouldn’t go that route.
“As Kenyans, we should now be debating; is it possible to grow marijuana in a controlled environment for export and for medical use?
“And, can this be of help in reducing tax burden?” he poses.
However, Junior denies using marijuana. He maintains that criminalisation of marijuana has made the black market to thrive.
Junior says you cannot walk for 500 metres without finding someone selling marijuana.