Cannabis: Destruction of a billion-dollar industry

Nigeria is currently the 8th largest consumer of cannabis in the world,and the largest supplier in West Africa. Yet, this sector remains untapped by the government with hundreds of millions lost annually to the destruction of several cannabis plantations around the country.

Cannabis: Destruction of a billion-dollar industry
Local cannabis strain in Nigeria

Cannabis, a plant that has generated billions of tax revenue in several states in the USA that has legalized it is being destroyed, and farmers, meted out with severe punishment for cultivating when the industry could be regulated to generate more revenue for these states, hereby increasing employment.

The National Drug Laws Enforcement Agency,(NDLEA), Ekiti Command on Friday, 26th June disclosed it had arrested about 109 suspects, who dealt in illicit drugs business in the state.

Cannabis: Destruction of a billion-dollar industry
Seized cannabis plantation in Nigeria

NDLEA Commander in the State, Mr. Gaura Shedow who made the revelation added that about 1,400 Kilogrammes of the illicit drug was recovered from 89 male and 20 female suspects who have been arrested.
Mr. Shedow said this while briefing newsmen on Friday in Ado-Ekiti during the commemoration of the 2020 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Drug Trafficking.

Cannabis: Destruction of a billion-dollar industry
World drug day logo

This is coming in a period where about 5000kg of cannabis sativa plantation was destroyed also in Edo state, destroying a revenue generating plantation worth hundreds of millions of Naira.

According to Mr. Shedow, the 2020 celebration, which has the theme: “Better Knowledge for Better Care” #Facts for Solidarity, was meant to address the drug challenge which had been plagued by the misinformation of many kinds.

“The Command destroyed about 10 Cannabis Sativa Plantations within the state. The plantations measuring about 60 hectares of farmland were destroyed with fresh Cannabis Sativa weighing about 81 kg, excluding the 59 nursery beds.

Cannabis: Destruction of a billion-dollar industry
Seized cannabis plantation in Nigeria

He continued, “Within the period under review, the command arrested a total of 109 suspects comprising 89 males and 20 females with the recovery of 1,400 kg of illicit substances.

“Cannabis Sativa 1,400 kg, Psychotropic substances 703 Grammes, Cocaine/Heroine 4Grammes. We secured a total of 12 convictions1 at the Federal High Court sitting in Ado-Ekiti, (10 males and 2 females).
He also said “In view of the prevailing atmosphere of COVID-19 pandemic, drug-dependent persons are at risk of contracting the virus, because there’re usually attending underlying health issues, stigmatization, and dire access to health care.

In the United States of America, the cannabis industry in Washington, California, and Colorado recorded a tax revenue generation of $319 million, $300 million and $266 million respectively in 2017, with a record 300,000 job creation in states that legalized the use of cannabis. In 2019, Washington generated $512.5 million, while California recorded $629.2 million in taxes, with Colorado crossing the billion dollar mark after 6 years of the legalization of cannabis.

Cannabis: Destruction of a billion-dollar industry
Tax revenue generated from Cannabis in USA since 2014

Isn’t it healthier and more advantageous for the Nigerian government to regulate the amount of drug use amongst citizens in the country, rather than outrightly creating a misconception of cannabis and smoking as a whole then?

With the current data available on increasing job creation in this sector, it would be disappointing if Nigeria failed to tap into this billion-dollar sector.

To accept the use of this plant, regulate the distribution, creation of more job opportunities and employment for the citizens and create awareness about the use and abuse of this plant and its various uses.

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