NACADA declares its stand, opposes legalization of marijuana

Marijuana plant (pictured). The National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) Monday declared that it does not support the calls to decriminalise the use of marijuana. [Courtesy]

The National Agency for the Campaign Against Drug Abuse (NACADA) on Monday declared that it does not support the calls to  decriminalise the use of marijuana.

In a press statement released on October 29, NACADA stated that it takes “cognizance of the continuing debate on the legalization of cannabis for economic, medical and recreational use."
 
It further stated: "NACADA strongly objects any efforts to legalize the growth, use and distribution of marijuana Other than those reasons provided for in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Control (Act),1994."
 
The body signals harmful effects associated with the drug as the primary reason for objecting its legalisation.
 
"Cannabis continues to be classified under Schedule 1 of the Single Convention on Narcotic drugs 1961 as amended by the 1971 Protocol. Schedule 1 drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse and harm. The Narcotic drugs and Psychotropic substance (Control) Act, 1994 of laws of Kenya is anchored on the UN Single Conventions," the statement read in part.
 
While defending its position on the matter the anti-drug use body warned that legalising marijuana would allow for recreational use that would in turn expose the users to "mental illnesses, pulmonary diseases and impaired foetal development."
 
On September 21, 2018, Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth devised a proposal seeking to have marijuana decriminalized in Kenya.

Listed in the Standing Order 114(1), Okoth's sketch of Marijuana Control Bill 2018 covered four arguments highlighting potential benefits that the country could have upon the adoption of the law.
 
The legislator is also pushing for decriminalization of handling of the drug and amnesty for those who may have been prosecuted for using or growing the plant.
 
Okoth is pushing for proper regulation of the marijuana farming sector. This he says will cater for the growers, traders and protecting minors once the step is achieved.

He is further urging the government to set up institutions of research to aid in medical use of the product as well as other areas regarding intellectual property rights.

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The legislator says that once legal, the product will present the government with a tax haven coming handy with employment opportunities. He presented his proposal to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi today pending further deliberations on it.

On September 24, ex-NACADA boss John Mututho opposed the move stating that it would cause great harm to the youth. He also accused Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth of seeking popularity through the proposed Bill.

NACADA has time and again been on the frontline in the fight against drug and substance abuse in Kenya.

NACADANational Agency for the Campaign Against Drug AbusemarijuanacannabisNarcotic drugs and Psychotropic substance (Control) Act1994 of laws of KenyaKibra Member of Parliament Ken OkothJohn Mu