Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Reps clash over fresh bill to legalise marijuana

Detail of a man holding a joint

Some members of the House of Representatives clashed on Wednesday over a bill seeking to legalise cultivation, sale and use of cannabis, also known as marijuana, for commercial purposes.

Two members of the House, Benjamin Kalu and Olumide Osoba, had sponsored a fresh bill seeking to amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, to expand the scope of the anti-narcotics agency to issue licences for the cultivation, sale and use of marijuana.

The legislation was titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to Amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to Confer Additional Responsibility of the Power to Grant and Revoke Licenses for the Cultivation of Cannabis (or Any of Its Three Species, Namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indicia and Cannabis Ruderalis) Plant for Medicinal Purposes; and for Related Matters.’

The bill is a consolidated version of Kalu and Osoba’s separate bills numbered HBs. 1190 & 1918.

However, when the bill was up for second reading at the plenary on Wednesday, another member of the House, Miriam Onuoha, protested that the content of the bill was same with hers, which she sponsored long ago.

The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, in his ruling, asked both sides to liaise with the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, to identify the differences and similarities between the bills ahead of sitting on Thursday.

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