Reps withdraw bill to legalize cannabis

Recently, the House of Representatives in Nigeria stepped down a bill that proposed the legalization of cannabis for both recreational and medicinal purposes. The bill, which was co-sponsored by Marian Onuha, Ben Kalu, and Olumide Osoba, proposed that the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) regulate the growth and use of cannabis.

However, the bill was met with opposition from some members of the House during the debate. Several members argued that cannabis is addictive, and Nicholas Ossai, the Chairman of House Treaty, Protocol, and Agreement, went on to suggest that the bill contravened the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs. Ossai also stated that there is no empirical evidence to support the claim that cannabis has benefits.

In addition to Ossai, the Whip of the House also voiced his opposition, arguing that the bill is laid on a faulty foundation and cannot address the concerns about abuse and addiction. Despite these opposing views, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, suggested that some of the challenges could be addressed during a public hearing.

However, due to the opposition from several members of the House, two of the bill’s co-sponsors, Onuha and Kalu, decided to withdraw the bill to allow for further legislative action.

The legalization of cannabis has been a topic of debate in Nigeria for quite some time, with proponents of the bill citing the economic benefits that could be derived from the cultivation and sale of cannabis. However, the bill’s opposition believes that the legalization of cannabis will lead to an increase in drug abuse and addiction.

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