The House of Representatives has proposed a bill that will legalise the cultivation, sale and use of cannabis better known as marijuana or Indian hemp in Nigeria.
The bill, which has already been read the first time and was slated for second reading before the House proceeded on Christmas and New Year break is sponsored by Hon. Miriam Onuoha (APC, Imo).
Onuoha, who represents Isiala Mbano/ Onuimo/ Okigwe federal constituency of Imo State, is a firsttimer in the lower chamber after defeating her closest rival Obinna Onwubuariri of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the rerun election that was held in 18 polling units in the constituency in January this year.
It is titled “A bill for an act to decriminalise the growth and use of cannabis, to establish a system for the registration and licensing of cannabis growers, users and control, to legalise the growth, sale and use of cannabis and set out a legal framework for the registration and licensing of cannabis growers and producers in Nigeria; and for related matters.”
Although the bill was listed on the order paper on December 21, it could not be debated due to the absence of the sponsors on the floor of the House. New Telegraph investigation revealed that the proposed legislation will be considered when the House reconvene on January 26, 2021.
A synopsis of the bill obtained by New Telegraph shows that it is “to regulate the cultivation, possession, availability and trade in cannabis for medical and research purposes.”
The objectives of the bill include to: “Provide for a registration and licensing system for cannabis farmers and processors; establish a registration and licensing system for cannabis farmers and processors; regulate the cultivation, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medical purposes and promote public awareness about the cultivation, processing, availability and trade of cannabis for medicinal and research purposes and its use in relation to medical or health purpose.”
The bill, however, prohibits issuance of cannabis licence for medical use if such a person is without a proof that “he is either a medical doctor and intends to use it for medical purposes or a pharmaceutical company who intends to use an amount of cannabis, which may be determined as required, in producing a medicine for the cure of a certain disease or an epidemic.” When this bill is passed, Nigeria will join the league of 30 other countries that have legalised the use of cannabis.
They include Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech, Denmark and Finland. Others are Germany, Greece, Israel, Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Italy, Poland, Jamaica, Lesotho, Romania and Dan Marino. The rest are Luxemburg, Switzerland, Macedonia, Tury, Malta, Mexico, Uruguay and Zimbabwe.