If you are looking for yet another reason why Nigeria is a joke, look no further: via his Twitter account on Tuesday, the governor of Ondo Rotimi Akeredolu revealed that he was in Thailand to learn how to grow cannabis. He had had an epiphany when he looked around the fields in Ondo bursting with untapped cannabis and went, ”Ah! What can we do to commercialise this?”
And so he packed light, pulled along the CEO of the NDLEA Muhammad Abdallah, and they both flew to South-East Asia on taxpayers’ money. There’s a funny, silly, navel-gazing politicking to Akerodulu’s trip to Thailand, a country that only just legalised marijuana for medical purposes back in January. It’s interesting that the cannabis discourse is back again after former presidential aspirant Omoyele Sowore promised to export marijuana during his campaign. That said, I’m fairly certain there are local cannabis farmers in Ondo that can show Akeredolu how to grow and sustain cannabis, even the ones growing it discreetly and sustaining the illicit marijuana ecosystem in the state.
We all know that Ondo State is the hot bed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria. We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. With an estimated value of $145 Billion in 2025, we would be shortchanging ourselves if we failed t tap into the Legal Marijuana Market https://t.co/qUtER7gUtI
— Arakunrin Akeredolu (@RotimiAkeredolu) May 14, 2019
Akeredolu’s motivation, seemingly, is to utilise cannabis as revenue generation for the country and the creation of jobs for the youths. And he wants the government to tap into the global marijuana market. Also, he’s very specific about the kind of cannabis – the medical strain and not the recreational type, which is just a matter of cannabidiol (CBD) to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) ratio. Higher levels of cannbidiol levels makes cannabis more functional for medical purposes, while tetrahydrocannabinol is more valued for recreational use.
That said, the NDLEA Act criminalising the possession and consumption of marijuana is still in full swing, with arrests made every now and then. Last month, the anti-narcotic agency debunked reports that it had approved the cultivation of medical marijuana. So, what has changed now? When Abdallah gets back from his cannabis excursion to Thailand, will he still go about arresting people who possess weed? Will he come back high? Does this mean we are on the path towards having marijuana legalised? So many questions, and perhaps the most troubling fear is Nigerian artistes brazenly releasing videos as they get high.
When Bernard Dayo isn’t writing about pop culture, he’s watching horror movies, anime and trying to pretend his addiction to Netflix isn’t a serious condition.