One of the most distinctive features of any African and Nigerian in particular is their moral standing. This is very evident in our approach to the issue of Cannabis. For some people, you can sniff it a mile away while others already hit you unexpectedly like a hammer in a goat barn before you have any time to react. We, as a people, have invested so much in religion as a major backbone of our society that it has become practically near impossible to meet someone who does not judge your actions in one way or the other. Heck, some Christians in Africa still hold the belief that Muslims are pagans and will burn in hell while they’ll wallow in enjoyment in heaven for hating someone who dares to hold a contrary opinion.
A couple of months ago, I had a discussion with my best friend, Ajomale Damilare concerning Sowore’s approach to the presidency. As appalled as we were by his completely inefficient campaign which seemed like an attempt to extend the relevance of Sahara Reporters which has over the years lost its true color. You know gone are the days when Nigerian journalism was backed by cold-hard facts. I’m not surprised though, in a country where the fastest source of information is Instablog9ja, a gossip blog, his opinion on the legalization of cannabis was nothing short of brilliant.
It is very surprising that a country with so much in her debt coffers will turn her back on an industry which has been described by financial observers as being on the rise. A recent study has listed the Cannabis industry as one of the twelve fastest growing industries in America and even much bigger in Canada. This, of course, does not imply that Nigerians should follow in the footsteps of America as that would be somewhat redundant but it is important for us to put morals aside and start searching for ways to jumpstart our near dead economy.
I have only one advice for our Nigerian officials: “As illegal as Cannabis is in our dear Nigeria, it still remains a very widely used substance, one which will not be going away anytime soon. If the influx of this product cannot be stopped, what is wrong with legalizing it, investing in the industry (exclusively or not) and taxing it heavily. Countries like Germany cart home billions of dollars in revenue yearly from taxation on Cannabis and prostitution while Nigerians hide under the cloak of morals and allow this great source of revenue to die a stifled death”.
In a recent tweet, the sitting governor of Ondo state, Barr. Rotimi Akeredolu expressed the interest of his state (which is my state too, by the way, lol) to learn more about the Cannabis plant and ways to turn it around into a source of revenue for the government. Acknowledging the fact that his state is a seeming “hot-bed” for growing this product, he announced the interest of his state to invest in its production and gave an estimated revenue of over a hundred million by 2025. Who said free money wasn’t a thing?
Although this might sound like the classic case of “if you can’t join them beat them”, the Nigerian economy is in no state to give anyone any beating, and everything need be done to save her from dying an unnecessary death. And well, I don’t think to invest in an industry that is already championed by the powers that be is a bad way to go.
I might be wrong or right, but it’s my opinion and I hope you keep me alive!