Member of Parliament (MP) for Kumbungu, Ras Mubarak has issued a warning against the wanton abuse of cannabis in the country following the passage of the Narcotics Control Commission Bill, 2019 into law.
According to him, the law is not a license for people to go about smoking weed.
The bill which was passed late Friday night legalizes the growing of cannabis for health purposes and industrial purposes.
It also transforms the Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) into a commission with enhanced powers.
Additionally, it empowers the Minister for Interior in consultation with other institutions like the Ministry of Health to grant licenses for the production of cannabis of not more than 0.3 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for industrial and medicinal purposes.
THC is one of the about 113 chemicals found in cannabis.
The news of the ‘partial’ legalisation of the drug has already triggered jubilation among numerous users who feel it is some kind of liberation from bondage.
For a very long time, these people have been frantically pushing for the country to legalise the consumption of herb without hindrances.
But in an interview with ABC News after the passage of the bill last night, the Kumbungu legislator was emphatic that it remains illegal for people to grow or use the drug without approval from the appropriate agencies.
“The distinction has to be made very clearly; it is illegal to grow or possess cannabis without license and cannabis of more than 0.3 percent. That is, the strain that people smoke remains illegal and I must also add that there are indeed real concerns about abuse.”
“What we have approved in Parliament is not the type that people smoke, let’s get that distinction very clearly,” he said.
He assured that there would be zero space and tolerance for people who go about smoking anyhow, stressing that “Parliament hasn’t given license to anyone to go on a smoking spree.”
“The law is for people to get a license from the ministry of interior for the cultivation of cannabis of not more than 0.3% of THC and that should be only for medicinal and industrial purposes, so we have not approved recreational cannabis or marijuana,” he maintained.
Justifying the wisdom behind the approval of the bill, the MP intimated that marijuana has proven to be economically viable worldwide and would do the country more good than harm.
“It is really really important that people understand the difference and as a country, it is also crucial that we follow the signs; I mean cannabis is a multibillion industry right now and the industry is expected to grow to over US$30 billion next year and it is something that we really need to harness the potential for job creation, the potential for actually depending on our own resources to make the things that we use here in the country; things like soaps, things like body creams, shower lotions, things like eye drops and the rest of it,” he said.