A lobby group that seeks to put pressure on the government through the National Assembly to legalise bhang owing to “its healthy supplements and environmental conservation” benefits to Kenyans has been formed.
The association known as Africa Cannabis Association with a membership of 300 youths from Meru, Nyeri and Nairobi, aims to agitate for the legalisation of marijuana, protection of farmers from exploitation by buyers upon legalisation and campaign to have Kenyans change their attitude on bhang.
According to the association’s chairperson Nyaruai Muriithi, the cannabis industry will be worth 146 billion dollars by 2025 and owing to its huge economic power it will propel Africa to a more developed continent.
“For these reasons we are pushing for the cultivation and manufacturer of medical marijuana that can be used to treat a myriad ailments such as epilepsy, multiple sclerosis and some types of cancer.
“The versatility of the plant also allows it to be used as a nutritional food supplement due its many active elements and minerals and it is also used in the cosmetic industry and for textile and paper manufacturing thus conserving the environment,” she told the Nation.
She said cannabis oil has been hailed by some countries as a wonder drug and it would only be wise for the Kenyan Parliament to pass the proposal by Kibra MP Ken Okoth to legalise bhang.
Ms Muriithi, 29, said the group has sought the attention of MPs like Mr Okoth and other leaders like Raila Junior, who have embraced their idea, adding that the group will be conducting civic education to unravel the myths that have been peddled over the years about bhang.
“We are geared to have this association as a body that will help the government create policies and strategies for farmers and entrepreneurs of cannabis as well as attracting international investors so that the country can gain exponentially from the export of the finished products,” she told the Nation.
Last year, a biochemist wrote to the National Assembly seeking the licensing of at least 150,000 farmers to grow bhang.
Mr Simon Mwaura, the director of Hyaquip Inc International, says the marijuana will be used in extraction of food supplements.
In his letter dated September 18, 2017, the scientist wanted the lawmakers to allow each farmer to plant only one acre of bhang.
The letter also proposes that army barracks and national parks as other possible bhang growing areas since they are protected zones.
If allowed, Mr Mwaura argues, the now illegal drug could highly boost the economy "since a kilo will go for Sh1,000".