Speaking with BBC Newsday earlier this year, the former President of Nigeria, gave his support for the decriminalization of marijuana in the country.
“It is essentially a call for what we call decriminalization. If a young man tries to experiment with a wrap of marijuana for instance & because of that we put him in jail.”
“I was in prison as a political prisoner & I interacted with these people, some of them just for being caught with a wrap of Marijuana, they’re put in jail. They came out of jail more hardened, more hardened criminals than when they went in. Whereas, if they have been treated as they should be treated & if they need attention, they’ll be given attention.”
“They will be looked after, given a clean needle like it’s been done in some parts of Africa already. Harm reduction & safe places where they can listen to people, they can get attention, they can get counsel. This is the sort of thing we are talking about.”
The logic behind his statement is pretty spelt out, although, one wouldn’t be blamed for citing more alternate or self-centered motivations to his action, considering he owns arguably the biggest farm in Nigeria and being on top of the marijuana market won’t be particularly difficult for him as it transitions from decriminalization to legalization across the continent.
On the flip side, looser regulations on marijuana are required to further the progress of our society, so regardless of who stands to gain now, we, the youth, stand to gain more in the long run.
In terms of a precedent in our part of the world, Lesotho can be used as an example, last year the country in South Africa legalized the medical and scientific use of the herb under license. Also in 2017, there was a ruling in South Africa that favoured the personal use of marijuana in homes, the ruling is pending final confirmation from the constitutional court.
The future of Africa is bright, green and dank.