We Can Never Support Legalisation Of Cannabis – NDLEA Chairman

 

Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) General Buba Marwa, has reiterated his stance on the use of Cannabis in Nigeria, saying that the agency will never support its legalisation.

General Marua said this on Friday while addressing journalists after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the State House.

“We can never support legalisation and I don’t see how the National Assembly will pass the Act because I know 90 per cent or more of the honourables and distinguished members in the National Assembly know the implications of their legislation,” he said.

“They dare not go back to their constituencies if anyone signs the legislation because we are seeing the implications on the ground, the youths, the families all being destroyed because of cannabis and drugs”.

Read Also: Drug Test Is Essential For A Stable Marriage – Marwa

Debates regarding a proposed legalisation of cannabis in Nigeria have from time to time been brought to the fore especially since President Muhammadu Buhari appointed Gen. Marwa as NDLEA Chairman earlier in the year.

The retired brigadier general who was a former Military Administrator of Lagos State has, since taking office, stood his grounds against the legalisation of marijuana.

In opposing the demands for the approval of cannabis in Nigeria, Marwa has repeatedly argued that the nation cannot afford to mortgage the lives of the citizens for financial gains.

While several nations across the world also share similar sentiments, many, in recent times have begun decriminalising the use of the cannabis.

In Nigeria, Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, is one of those who has supported calls for its legalisation, urging the Federal Government to jettison traditional orientation and “archaic” sentiment that states that cannabis is a ‘devil’s plant’.

The governor who is also a Senior Advocate of Nigeria believes the medical and economic merits of the use of cannabis outweigh its demerits and the Nigerian government needs to give legal backing to cannabis to enable its use in Nigeria.

“Cannabis is a multi-billion-naira industry that can help diversify the Nigerian Economy if judiciously utilised,” the governor said at a stakeholder meeting earlier in June this year.

But the NDLEA boss, at the time, maintained that the agency will continue to burn down marijuana farms and prosecute whoever is caught doing the business.

According to him, the NDLEA has seized drugs worth over ₦100 billion and arrested about 1,630 criminals since January 2021.

Mexico Top Court Decriminalizes Recreational Marijuana Use

In this file photo taken on January 01, 2018 a budtender (right) shows cannabis buds to a customer at the Green Pearl Organics dispensary on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California, at the Green Pearl Organics marijuana dispensary in Desert Hot Springs, California. States that legalize recreational marijuana see a reduction of at least 20 percent in fatalities linked to opioid overdoses, according to a study published on August 7, 2019. PHOTO: ROBYN BECK / AFP

 

 

Mexico’s Supreme Court on Monday decriminalized recreational marijuana use for adults, drawing a cautious welcome from activists who said users face a “legal vacuum” until lawmakers pass a stalled legalization bill.

“Today is a historic day for liberties,” court president Arturo Zaldivar said, after eight of the 11 judges backed the decision declaring the drug’s prohibition under the health law to be unconstitutional.

The ruling comes after Congress failed to enact legislation allowing recreational marijuana use by an April 30 deadline set by the country’s highest court.

The landmark bill was approved by the lower house in March but still needs final approval by the upper house, the Senate.

In April, the ruling majority in the Senate said it was considering postponing the final discussion on the law until September.

The Supreme Court urged Congress to issue the necessary legislation “in order to generate legal certainty.”

– Legal obstacles –
Pro-legalization campaigners said the Supreme Court ruling left cannabis users facing many uncertainties.

Mexico United Against Crime, a non-governmental organization, said the decision “does not decriminalize the activities necessary to carry out consumption” such as production, possession and transportation of marijuana.

The ruling “leaves a legal vacuum with respect to the consumption, cultivation and distribution of cannabis,” it added, calling on Congress to issue the necessary legislation.

Veteran pot legalization activist Jorge Hernandez Tinajero, who is part of the Mexican Association of Cannabis Studies, was also skeptical about the announcement.

“They do not dare to go further,” he said, adding that recreational users still faced legal obstacles to possessing marijuana.

– Massive market –
One consequence of the court ruling is that recreational users will be able to obtain a permit from national health regulator Cofepris more easily, said Adriana Muro, director of rights group Elementa.

“What had happened on previous occasions was that Cofepris denied those permits,” she told AFP.

“Now that permission has to be given automatically,” she added.

But that does not open the door to commercialization or personal possession of more than the five grams already allowed, said Francisco Burgoa, a constitutional lawyer and professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

“Congress urgently needs to legislate, but I think that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is not personally in favor,” he told AFP.

The legislation would make Mexico, home to 126 million people, one of just a few countries, including Uruguay and Canada, to legalize cannabis for recreational use.

Cannabis use for medicinal purposes has been decriminalized in Mexico since June 2017.

Experts say the legal recreational market could be worth billions of dollars in Mexico, where authorities seized 244 tons of marijuana in 2020.

The legalization push is partly aimed at curbing drug-related violence that claims thousands of lives each year in the Latin American nation.

More than 300,000 people have been murdered since the government deployed the army to fight the drug cartels in 2006.

NSCDC Parades Suspected Marijuana Merchant In Cross River

The Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) Cross River State Command, has paraded one suspected marijuana Merchant who was caught with three bags of contraband items at Ene Edem street, Bayside Calabar, the state capital.

Parading the suspect at the command’s headquarter in Calabar, the state’s Commandant Majekodunmi Abidemi, explained that the suspect who has been on the watch list of the Corp was trailed to the Riverside of Calabar while negotiating his deals for export to Cameron and other west African states.

The suspected dealer

The commandant disclosed that the arrest was made possible by men of the Command following a sustained intelligence monitoring by officers of the corps and other reliable information obtained by members of the community where the nefarious crime is being perpetuated.

According to the commandant, drug trafficking and addiction have become a big problem in society as it enhances criminal activities directly accounting for the rise in the wave of crimes which if not managed on time will escalate the rate of crime in the already tense society.

The contraband items

He enjoined operators of illegal businesses to apply caution as he charged the public to report criminal cases around them to ensure that the society is secured as it can regenerate to societal problems if the classes of such are not been reported.

Norway Seeks To Decriminalise Use Of Marijuana, Others

A recreational marijuana smoker indulges in smoking weed on April 14, 2020 in the Bushwick section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP
A recreational marijuana smoker indulges in smoking weed on April 14, 2020 in the Bushwick section of the Brooklyn borough of New York City. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/AFP

 

Norway’s government on Friday proposed a bill aimed at decriminalising the possession and use of small amounts of narcotics, saying users should be offered treatment rather than face jail.

“Decades of repression have taught us that punishment doesn’t work. On the contrary, punishment can make things worse,” Education Minister Guri Melby told a press conference.

“Drug addicts need help, not punishment,” she added.

Under the centre-right coalition government’s proposal, both possession and the use of small quantities of drugs, including heroin, cocaine and cannabis, would no longer be punishable under the criminal code, but users would still have to seek help.

“They are still forbidden, but no longer punishable,” Health Minister Bent Hoie said.

Proponents of the bill argue that criminal prosecution of drug users can be counterproductive as it deters those with abuse problems from seeking help, makes it more difficult for relatives to detect problems and stigmatises an already vulnerable demographic.

The proposal comes with set thresholds for what should be considered a small amount for different illicit substances: two grams for cocaine, heroin or amphetamines, 10 grams for cannabis and 500 grams (17.6 oz) for khat.

As the government only controls a minority in parliament, passing the legislation will require support from the opposition, with some arguing the measure could encourage drug use.

According to a survey published in early February by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, around five percent of respondents in Norway say they have used cannabis in the last 12 months, and one percent have tried psychotropic drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines.

Despite having one of the highest living standards in Europe, Norway — and other Nordic countries — have seen higher numbers of drug-related deaths per capita than the rest of Europe.

In recent years, 260 people have died annually from a drug overdose in Norway, according to a report published last year by the Norwegian Directorate of Health.

 

AFP

Customs Impounds 48 Sacks Of Marijuana In Kwara

The Nigeria custom officers in Kwara State have seized 48 sacks of Cannabis Sativa popularly known as Marijuana.

Also, 953 bags of imported rice weighing 50kg each were seized.

The Area Comptroller, Ahmed Bello said the seizure was made at Bukuru in Baruten Local Government Area of the state between August 2019 and January 2020.

He said the seized marijuana weighs 3,593kg and the total duty paid value of the items seized is N448million.

Bello also condemned the act of smuggling and the increased consumption of marijuana by youths. He revealed that the command would continue to dialogue, engage, sensitise and educate the public on the strategic role of the customs activities to the social and economic stability of the country.

Spain Arrests Chinese Gang Using ‘Slaves’ To Grow Marijuana

 

Spanish police said Thursday they have broken up a Chinese gang that allegedly forced illegal migrants to work in “conditions of semi-slavery” to produce marijuana for export across Europe.

The gang is suspected of growing marijuana in warehouses rented in industrial areas, mainly in the eastern region of Valencia. It was shipped to other EU nations, especially Britain and the Netherlands, via private courier firms in small packages labelled as containing clothes, police said in a statement.

READ ALSO: 12 Injured As Police Clash With Catalan Protesters Outside Camp Nou Stadium

Thirty-six Chinese and Vietnamese men who had been forced by the gang to work round-the-clock in the warehouses in “degrading conditions of semi-slavery” were freed during the operation, which followed an eight-month investigation, the police statement added.

“Living conditions inside the warehouses were very precarious, unhealthy and with poor hygiene,” police said.

“Some of the victims said they were not allowed out on the streets and could not communicate with the outside; they only received food to be able to continue working like slaves.”

Police estimate the gang had exported around 4.2 tonnes of marijuana since the beginning of 2018.

Officers also freed 13 Chinese women who the gang is believed to have forced to work as prostitutes.

Police arrested a total of 81 people as part of the operation. The vast majority were Chinese nationals but there were also a few British and Vietnamese nationals among those detained, a police spokeswoman said.

The authorities dismantled 19 warehouses used by the gang and seized over 22,000 marijuana plants weighing some 3.4 tonnes, police said.

AFP

NDLEA Arrests Suspected Supplier Of Marijuana To Insurgents, 20 Others

 

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has arrested 21 suspected drug dealers in Taraba State.

The suspects, including one person accused of supplying drugs to Boko Haram insurgents, were paraded on Thursday at the NDLEA office in Jalingo, the state capital.

Mr Suleiman Jadi, the state commander of the agency, disclosed that officials seized about 299.6 kilograms of drugs within four months of operation.

READ ALSO: Fuel Price: I Have No Intention Of Inflicting Hardship On Nigerians – Buhari

The NDLEA state commander said Mohammed Ibrahim – the suspect said to be a major supplier of drugs to Boko Haram – was nabbed with 153 compressed blocks of Cannabis Sativa, also known as Marijuana.

He stressed that unemployment and peer group influence were the major reasons why youth indulge in drug abuse.

Jadi, who noted that they were faced with various challenges as a unit, said nine of the suspects have been charged to court.

See photos below:

Customs Seize Four Tons Of Marijuana Hidden Among Peppers

PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter/Acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan.

US Customs officers have seized nearly four tons of marijuana worth $2.3 million hidden in a consignment of jalapeno peppers.

A sniffer dog alerted officers to a trailer with a shipment of peppers in San Diego on the border with Mexico on Thursday, Customs and Border Protection said.

The CBP statement said “a 37-year-old male Mexican citizen entered the port of entry driving a tractor pulling a trailer with cargo manifested as jalapeno peppers.”

Officers at Otay Mesa cargo facility found 314 packages of marijuana weighing 7,560 pounds (3.4 tonnes) mixed among the jalapeno peppers.

“I am proud of the officers for seizing this significant marijuana load,” said Otay Mesa Port director Rosa Hernandez.

The acting Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Mark Morgan also shared image of the seized marijuana on his verified Twitter handle.

He hailed the officers for a job well done.

 

It was the second large haul of marijuana at the facility in days.

Officers seized 10,642 pounds of the drug in a shipment of plastic auto parts at Otay Mesa on Tuesday.

CBP has seized 113 tons (103 tonnes) of marijuana so far this year, along with 41 tons of cocaine and 27 tons of methamphetamine.

In July authorities seized nearly 20 tons of cocaine with an estimated street value of more than $1 billion from a ship at the port of Philadelphia in one of the largest drug busts in US history.

 

Mexican Court Orders Govt To Detail Medical Marijuana Rules

In this file photo taken on January 01, 2018 a budtender (right) shows cannabis buds to a customer at the Green Pearl Organics dispensary on the first day of legal recreational marijuana sales in California, at the Green Pearl Organics marijuana dispensary in Desert Hot Springs, California. PHOTO: ROBYN BECK / AFP

 

The Mexican Supreme Court ordered the government to come up with rules surrounding the use of medical Mexican Supreme CourtWednesday after granting a child permission to use a drug derived from cannabis to treat epilepsy.

The Ministry of Health has 180 business days to establish regulations around the therapeutic use of cannabis and its derivatives, the country’s top court said in a statement.

Mexico’s Congress approved the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in 2017 after a two-year fight, and President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office late last year, has said he would consider legalizing certain drugs.

His government, however, revoked a decision that authorized the sale of 38 cannabis-derived products, such as dietary supplements, drinks, and cosmetics, to be sold in pharmacies.

The court said the agency should have issued the rules within 180 days after the original decree legalizing medical marijuana came into effect in June 2017, and since they hadn’t, the child had been forced to seek permission from authorities to use cannabis oil.

“With the absence of norms to regulate the use of therapeutic use of cannabis, it is impossible for the claimant to access treatment related to this substance,” the court said.

The Ministry of Health responded in a statement, saying it would “fully comply” with the ruling and added it would ensure the child’s treatment.

The Mexican government began a fight against drugs in 2006 that unleashed a wave of violence that has left more than a quarter of a million people killed and 40,000 people missing, according to official data.

AFP

Massachusetts To Start Selling Recreational Marijuana

A man smokes marijuana on Parliament Hill on 4/20 in Ottawa, Ontario. Credit: Lars Hagberg / AFP

 

Massachusetts is joining the growing list of US states where Americans can walk into a shop and legally buy recreational marijuana, with two stores due to open next Tuesday.

The Cannabis Control Commission issued notices Friday for two outlets to start selling to adults legally without a prescription in three days. The stores will operate in Leicester and Northampton, both west of Boston.

“There probably will be a big crowd,” said an employee at the Northampton dispensary, which already sells medical marijuana to those with a prescription, and who answered the telephone to AFP.

“I’d recommend you wait till after Thanksgiving,” he added of the upcoming US family holiday celebrated next Thursday.

According to the law passed by Massachusetts, marijuana cannot be consumed while driving nor in public places. Adults aged 21 or over get up to one ounce (28.5 grams) of cannabis or five grams of marijuana concentrate.

The US federal capital Washington and 10 states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Most other states allow for limited use of medical marijuana.

It remains outlawed at the federal level. The two stores in Massachusetts will be the first on the US East Coast able to sell marijuana for recreational use.

“Licensees underwent thorough background checks, passed multiple inspections and had their products tested, all to ensure public health and safety,” said Steven Hoffman, chairman of the Cannabis Control Commission in Massachusetts.

“As patrons look forward to visiting Massachusetts stores, we hope they will do their part by first familiarizing themselves with the law and understanding what is required of responsible consumers,” he added.

Last month, Canada became the world’s first major economy to fully legalize cannabis, making good on a 2015 campaign promise by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

AFP

Canada Becomes First Major Economy To Legalise Recreational Cannabis

Canada Becomes First Major Economy To Legalise Recreational Cannabis
A man rolls a marijuana cigarette during a legalisation party at Trinity Bellwoods Park in Toronto, Ontario, October 17, 2018. Geoff Robins / AFP

 

Canada on Wednesday became the world’s first major economy to fully legalise cannabis, sparking celebrations on the streets as the country embarked on the controversial drug policy experiment.

Throughout the country, huge lines outside pot shops snaked around city blocks.

Scores of customers braved the cold for hours outside Tweed, a pot boutique in St John’s, Newfoundland that opened at midnight, to buy their first grams of legal cannabis.

Ian Power said prior to its grand opening, he was happy to “make history” by being the first to legally buy pot in Canada.

“I’m elated. I’m so excited, I can’t stop smiling. I’m not cold. It’s freezing cold out, but I’m not cold,” he said.

In Cape Breton, platinum record-selling fiddler Ashley MacIsaac was among the first buyers, while in Toronto revellers attended a “Wake and Bake” party with music, a glass pipe blower and campfire treats.

“It’s fun, good for the soul, and now legal so we don’t have to stress about that anymore,” Sebastien Bouzats from Montreal told AFP. “We don’t have to hide it anymore.”

Legalisation has sent stocks in pot companies soaring on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges but has also been sharply questioned by some health professionals and opposition politicians.

– Second after Uruguay –

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has defended legalisation — the fulfillment of a 2015 campaign promise — as intended to protect young people and to shut down drug dealers.

The entry into force of the Cannabis Act makes Canada only the second nation after Uruguay to legalise the drug.

How well it goes could have an impact on Canada’s next election in 2019, and on whether other countries follow in its footsteps.

“When people start to see the consequences (of legalisation) they will blame Trudeau’s failures for it,” opposition Tory leader Andrew Scheer commented.

In the United States, recreational cannabis has been legalised in eight states, while countries such as the Netherlands and Spain have decriminalized pot possession.

In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 — about 15 per cent of the population. Around 4.9 million already smoke.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale announced a plan to pardon past convictions for simple possession, giving people “greater access to job opportunities, education and housing.”

– A new industry –

Under the new regulations, Canadians at least 18 or 19 years old (soon to be 21 in Quebec) will be allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis, and grow up to four plants at home.

A patchwork of private and public cannabis retail stores and online sales have been set up across the 13 provinces and territories, ramping up to 300 storefronts by year’s end, the government predicted.

Sales of derivatives like edibles will be legalised next year.

To meet demand, hundreds of growers have been licensed, some taking over horticulture and floriculture greenhouses.

The new industry has attracted billions in funding, as well as interest from major alcohol and soft drink makers such as Constellation Brands and Coca-Cola, respectively, in developing cannabis-infused drinks.

Cannabis sales are forecast to boost economic growth by up to Can$1.1 billion and provide a Can$400 million tax windfall for the government, according to official data.

It’s still unclear if legalisation will undercut the black market. Prices for illicit pot have plunged to an average of Can$6.79 per gram, and most legal sellers are charging more.

Bill Blair, a former Toronto police chief who is Trudeau’s point man for pot legalisation, remains optimistic.

He acknowledged that criminal enterprises that have long controlled the market for pot and have reaped billions in profits a year “are not going to go gently into the night.”

“But the fact that some individuals want to cling to a prohibition model that has led to the highest rates of cannabis use of any country in the world is a little shocking to me,” he told AFP.

Goodale noted that Can$2-3 billion was spent annually to police cannabis and consumption still rose.

According to a recent Abacus Data poll published on Monday, 70 per cent of Canadians accept or support legalisation.

Public health officials contend that smoking cannabis is as harmful as tobacco, but welcome what they call an opportunity that legalisation affords for open dialogue.

Some doctors, however, remain wary. Diane Kelsall, editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, called legalisation “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.”

AFP

South Africa’s Top Court Legalises Personal, Private Cannabis Use

AFP Photo

South Africa’s top court ruled Tuesday that private, personal cannabis use was legal in a landmark case that had pitted law enforcement agencies against marijuana advocates and the judiciary.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, delivering the Johannesburg-based Constitutional Court’s unanimous verdict, declared the law banning marijuana use in private by adults “is unconstitutional and therefore invalid”.

“It will not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for his or her personal consumption,” he said, reading the ruling to cheers from the public gallery.

The court also ordered parliament to draft new laws within 24 months to reflect the order.

Outside pro-cannabis campaigners lit pipes and rolled joints to celebrate the news, filling the air with the distinctive aroma of marijuana.

“I’m happy I won’t be getting any more criminal records for possession,” Ruaan Wilson, 29, told AFP before pausing for a puff.

“Now we can get police to focus on real drugs and thugs,” he added, wearing shorts and dark sunglasses.

A court in Western Cape had ruled in March 2017 that a ban on cannabis use by adults at home was unconstitutional, a move that effectively decriminalised it in the province, which includes Cape Town.

But the ministers of justice, police, health and trade challenged that finding, arguing that there was “objective proof of the harmful effects of cannabis.”

Tuesday’s ruling will not decriminalise the use of the drug in public nor the offences of supplying or dealing — but cultivation for personal, private use will no longer be illegal for adults.

‘We are free now’

Previously, possessing, growing or using marijuana for personal use — even in small quantities — exposed users to fines of up to hundreds of dollars (euros) as well as jail time, although this latter punishment was rare. Penalties for selling the drug were far higher.

Three cannabis users who had faced prosecution for using the drug argued in the Constitutional Court that the prohibition “intrudes unjustifiably into their private spheres”.

Activists clutching banners reading “Weed are free now” and Rastafari flags gathered outside the court in central Johannesburg.

Other boards read “Free the weed”, and “Legalise weed, end economic depression #weedislife”.

Some activists also called for cannabis to be decriminalised for use in public.

“It’s not enough, we also have privacy in person, as we walk in a public space, therefore we should be allowed to carry cannabis in public,” said Jeremy Acton, leader of the Dagga Party in South Africa which advocates for the rights of cannabis users.

Several of the roughly 100 activists sang struggle-era anti-apartheid songs.

Previous court hearings on the emotive issue have drawn protests by those opposed to legalising cannabis, as well as by those in favour of decriminalisation.

Use of cannabis and medicinal marijuana has gained popularity in some parts of the world to ease suffering from cancer, glaucoma, HIV and AIDS, and other serious conditions.

‘Able to develop the plant’

But opponents fear crime connected to drug abuse and users graduating to harder drugs. They also cite medical research which suggests a link between heavy use of marijuana and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

The country’s Medical Research Council has already launched trials to help guarantee quality, consistency and standards, according to local media.

“We have used cannabis to treat anxiety, colic in children and as an antiseptic in secret for many years,” said Phephsile Maseko of the Traditional Healers Organisation. “Now we will be able to develop the plant even further.”

South African opposition lawmaker Mario Oriani-Ambrosini submitted a draft law in 2014 calling for the legalisation of marijuana but he died soon after, and his initiative was shelved.

Globally, the legal status of cannabis varies widely. In Portugal, for example, possession and use is largely decriminalised, while users in Saudi Arabia face the death penalty.

The breakthrough for South African cannabis users came just a day after US soft drinks giant Coca-Cola confirmed it was studying the use of a key ingredient in marijuana to make “wellness beverages”.

AFP