SWAKOPMUND – The Deputy Minister of Health and Social Services Julieta Kavetuna says the legalisation of marijuana is very complex.
She suggests it is up to those advocating its legalisation to convince the government and Namibians at large of its benefits, through means of proper science and not “kitchen experiments”.
Kavetuna was responding to requests made by Lightning Aldo from the Marijuana Institute of Namibia, and Cheryl Green. Green was arrested in February this year for possession of 71 dagga plants and dagga oil valued at N$21 000 after police raided her house in Kramersdorp, Swakopmund. Green at her arrest claimed that cannabis helps her husband, who has been suffering from a terminal illness, to cope. According to Aldo, through research they found that marijuana can reverse the viral load of an HIV/Aids person from 70 000 to undetected.
“South Africa has legalised it, so has Uganda and Zimbabwe. Why are we not doing the same?” argues Aldo.
The duo said that they are seeking an audience with the President and his ministers to state their case why marijuana should be legalised.
However Kavetuna, who on Thursday accompanied President Hage Geingob to one of his several town hall meetings, said the issue of marijuana is fourfold.
“The first one is the establishment of plantations, and that might fall in another jurisdiction. Do you want to plant it … So far Lesotho is the only country giving permission to plant marijuana [plantations]. South Africa on the other hand legalised if for personal use at home only,” Kavetuna said.
Kavetuna says those in favour should come out and clearly say what they want.
“Do you want to process marijuana so that you can set up a pharmaceutical plant? In this case a comprehensive plant, which needs to go through required processes and regulations, is what you want? It must go through our regulations and should also be accredited by the World Health Organization (WHO) and because it is a medication,” said the deputy minister.
She said the benefits of marijuana should also be backed by legal and proper scientific research that indicates the side effects and benefits of the plant as required by the WHO. Sharing his opinion on dagga, President Geingob also said that it is up to those advocating for it to convince the government to legalise it. “If society is not ready for the legalisation of dagga you have to fight for it and convince us that it’s an ordinary medicine. We condemn cigarettes and alcohol too; people just got used to it. I don’t say alcohol is better. I drink it … a bit too,” Geingob said.
Green is strongly advocating the legalisation of medical marijuana.
Eveline de Klerk
2019-07-24 09:22:26 26 days ago