The National Assembly has revealed that Nigeria is looking to explore the cannabis industry to boost the economy and create additional streams of income for Nigerians. Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Benjamin Okezie, revealed that Nigeria may soon join the group of nations that have legalized cannabis, also known as Indian Hemp.
Okezie emphasized the need for collaboration with the media to educate the public on the benefits and opportunities. “Agriculture has always been a major strength of Nigeria and cannabis provides interesting prospects”, he said. He added that “Industrial hemp is a variety of the cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for industrial use. Once harvested, the crop has a high yield of edible proteins and fibres with more than 50,000 product applications”.
The lawmaker revealed that there would be roundtable discussions on these benefits on June 7 and 8, 2021. This forum would bring together medical and pharmaceutical professionals, insurance companies, farmers, and executives and private sector investors. Okezie revealed that he has “presented before the House of Representatives the Dangerous Drugs Act (Amendment) Bill, 2020, which when passed, will usher in a new era on medical cannabis from production, processing, and distribution”.
The plant would be used for making a variety of products such as paper, fuel, textiles, biodegradable plastics, pharmaceuticals, beverages, personal care products, and in construction.
In addition, based on recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations (UN) has voted to remove cannabis from Schedule IV of the 1962 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs and re-classify it as medicinal and therapeutic. This decision was made in December 2020 according to Okezie.