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Substance Abuse: How cannabis use in Nigeria differs from Canada, UK, others –NDLEA

NDLEA Operatives Arresting Suspects on Cannabis Farm, in Nigeria File Photo

*The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency explains the rationale for the regulatory criminalisation of marijuana use in Nigeria contrary to the decriminalisation of certain species of the same substance in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and several other countries across the world

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has defended the criminalisation of marijuana use in Nigeria in relation to what obtains in the United States (US), United Kingdom (UK), Canada, and several other countries of the world.

Shadrack Haruna, Secretary of NDLEA, who explained this Wednesday, June 28, 2023, while featuring on Channels TV Sunrise Daily monitored in Lagos, said there was “a lot of misconception” about decriminalising the use of drugs in the West African country.

Haruna stated: “You travel to Canada, you travel anywhere, and you say, ‘They’ve decriminalised marijuana or cannabis and we’re using it.’

“But of course, you have different species of marijuana; and in those countries, they have very good policies, very good enforcement and measurement standards which they have to follow.”

The Secretary of NDLEA further explained that there are different species of cannabis grown worldwide.

He disclosed “the species they have, which they say they have decriminalised in some of those countries, are those without Tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the active ingredient that makes one to be something else.

“We have cannabis that is far, far more potent, almost 45 percent, 100 percent Tetrahydrocannabinol.

“We can’t compare it to what they’re saying they have decriminalised.”

Haruna, who noted that in those countries, enforcement is strict, however, contended that not so many countries, including the US, have “actually said we have decriminalised some of these drugs. None, including the UK.”

The NDLEA Secretary as well revealed the UK used to allow the importation of cannabinol, which he noted is used for some kinds of medical treatment.

He further explained that recently, the foreign country also restricted importation of cannabinol because the authorities realised the increasing content of cannabinol in that particular oil.

The anti-narcotics regulatory agency also said though some have argued for its commercialisation in Nigeria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has advised that the harmful impact of cannabis outweighs its benefits to consumers.

“Some people are saying, ‘We make a lot of money from it.’

“But it is not money we are looking for. We are looking for the health of the nation. We’re looking for the well-being of individuals,” Haruna stated.

The NDLEA top official added: “They are talking about the commercialisation of drugs and all those things.

“It is a misconception, which of course, the media should come out against it because we know that it’s something that is wrong for this country (Nigeria).”

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