WINDHOEK - The Swapo Elders’ Council (SPEC) is singing from the same hymn book with the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) saying Namibia should not legalise dagga.
Neighbouring South Africa has made it legal for adults to grow and smoke weed following a Constitutional Court ruling while Canada was the first major Western country to legalise the national use of dagga, and several American states allow the usage of dagga for ‘recreational use’ among adults.
A little-known local organization called Ganja Users in Namibia with the ballistic acronym (GUN) and Rastafari United Front are planning a peaceful march to parliament, where they will hand over a petition of their grievances challenging the prohibition of cannabis in Namibia.
At the celebration of the late Jamaican reggae legend Bob Marley, the president GUN, Brian Jaftha, told New Era the prohibition of cannabis is “irrational and unjust”.
“The prohibition builds insecurities and vulnerability into the lives of cannabis users. The sanctions, namely arrest, prosecution and conviction for a victimless offence is cruel, inhuman and degrading, and such conviction results in further discrimination against users in everyday life, for example, in finding employment and in recognition of sporting achievement,” Jaftha complained.
“The use of cannabis cannot objectively be seen as a wrong committed against either the public or the state as it is now documented as an essential treatment and cure for many cancers and tumors, and is also successfully used in treating asthma, auto immune diseases such as arthritis and rheumatism, insomnia, inflammation, bipolar syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease and high blood pressure,” Jaftha added. He was making reference to some countries where the medicinal use of dagga is allowed.
The effect of the prohibition of is its users is stigmatisation in the eyes of broader society as criminals, he added.
Jaftha denied claims by mostly the pharmaceutical industry contradicting his beliefs on the use of ‘ganja’.
“Cannabis has proven and well-documented beneficial medical effects, even when smoked. Among these are the alleviation of nausea and vomiting, the stimulation of appetite in chemotherapy and Aids patients, glaucoma of the eye, as well as in treating chronic gastro-intestinal effectiveness as an analgesic,” says Jaftha.
The legalisation of weed, also known as marijuana, is one of the most controversial issues being discussed across Africa.
In South Africa, cannabis was recently legalised after a court found no persuasive medical evidence that dagga in small amounts was harmful to users, particularly compared to the harm resulting from use of alcohol.
The court also ruled there was no proof that marijuana caused violent or aggressive behaviour or that its use led to the use of more potent or dangerous drugs.
Commenting on the issue, the acting secretary general of CCN, Lukas Beukes, said: “As a nation we cannot compare ourselves to other nations that have legalised the consumption of cannabis.”
“We are concerned of the effects these drugs will have on our people, and so far we have not received any official statement of the benefits of cannabis on people.”
SPEC secretary Mukwaita Shanyengana strongly disapproves the legalisation of cannabis, saying: “Every country has its own rules depending on what is good and bad for its people.”
Also commenting on the subject was Popular Democratic Movement (PDM) president McHenry Venaani who said proponents of ganja use were free to express their stance on the matter.
“Namibia is a democratic country and if they want to protest, they must go ahead, it’s their right,” said the leader of the opposition in parliament.
Jaftha concluded that the law that prohibits cannabis on false claims of harm or the need to protect the population from harm arising from the abuse of drugs not only violates the rights of citizens to freedom of thought, belief, opinion, conscience and religion, but is also an attempt by the state to close the users’ door of direct spiritual contact that humans can have with the creator, which is facilitated by the consumption of dagga and to place law above the spirit from which it arises.
He was quick to point out that dagga is not a drug, and thus cannot be abused. It is not addictive and it is not hallucinogenic, he further argued.
Jaftha is requesting Namibians to join in what he termed “the revolutionary cannabis march”, to be held on April 19 from B1 City Mall to Ausspanplatz Circle at 08h00.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-14 09:56:33 6 days ago