Farmers, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders have listed the economic and health benefits of cannabis plant and CBD Oil in Nigeria.
This was unveiled in a communique issued at the end of the roundtable discussion in Akure, Ondo state.
See the full communique below:
STAKEHOLDER ROUNDTABLE DISCUSSION ON THE BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES OF CANNABIS PLANT AND CBD OIL IN NIGERIA – RESEARCH, LEGISLATION LICENSE, MEDICINE, AGRO-ECONOMY, EMPOWERMENT, IGR AND TRADE EXCHANGE HELD ON MONDAY 7th AND TUESDAY, 8th JUNE, 2021 AT THE INTERNATIONAL CULTURAL EVENTS CENTRE (THE DOME), AKURE, ONDO STATE
In a bid to improve the fortunes of the Nigerian economy, change its oil dependency narrative and find alternative and cost effective ways to managing protracted ailments as well create jobs, the Ondo State Government in collaboration with Grow Cann Africa, Culturepreneur, Isisae and other partners on the 7th and 8th of June, 2021 organized a ‘Stakeholders Round Table Discussion on: the Benefits and Opportunities of Cannabis Plant and CBD Oil in Nigeria in areas of Research Legislation, License, Medicine, Agro-Economy, Empowerment, IGR and Trade Exchange’.
Prelude to this event were press conferences held on October 8, 2020 at Abuja Chamber of Commerce, Abuja and May 17, 2021 at NUJ correspondents’ office, Akure, Ondo State with a view to getting the media buy-in for the proposal, draw attention of the public and relevant stakeholders to support the noble cause, and create awareness for this event as well mobilize publicity within and outside the country.
The round table event is an assemblage of relevant Stakeholders within the Nigerian socio-economic, political, and medical sphere including private sector, investors, MDAs and Regulators to discuss the possibility of legalizing the licensure of Cannabis in order to allow for its growing in Nigeria towards industrial/medical use primarily for export.
Apparently, the Cannabis plant is one of the prohibited substances in Nigeria, yet it is still being grown locally, in large quantities. The need for a paradigm shift to emphasize its utilization due to its myriad benefits should be pursued.
The Stakeholders Roundtable Discussion was organized to:
Bring together all stakeholders to deliberate on how to ensure that cannabis production and processing for medical and economic benefit is widely accepted by the populace.
Dissuade the mind of the public hinged on the adverse effect of Marijuana to tap the benefit cannabis production for industrial and medical use has to offer in increasing revenue generation amid job creation.
Garner support and facilitate the process of legalisation of cannabis as an agricultural product for medicinal and industrial use.
Ensure that every stakeholder and the general populace is well acquainted with the fact that the benefit of cannabis far outweighs the adverse effects which can be controlled with licensure.
Optimize the deliberations of the National Assembly on relevant bills as well as prepare the Executive arm for necessary regulation in this regard.
Garner inputs from relevant stakeholders, including but not limited to legislators, private sector investors, pharmaceutical and medical professionals, farmers, MDAs and Regulators given the wide implications involved.
3.0 Presentations and Discussions
Presentations were made by relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (Ministry of Natural Resources, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health); Professional Associations (National Union of Journalists, Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, Nigerian Medical Association, Association of Community Pharmacists of Nigeria); Religious bodies (Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria); Medical Experts, Researchers, Prominent Legislators, Regulators, Industrialists and Investors.
Panelists and participants canvassed support for the medicinal and industrial usage of Cannabis Sativa, having understood its uniqueness as a veritable source of huge alternative wealth generation and health uses, among other benefits. It was noted that the current laws inhibiting its cultivation need to be reviewed and thus, all stakeholders need to support the current efforts being made to legalise its cultivation strictly for medicinal and industrial purposes. Although some participants raised concerns on its harmful effects, especially when not controlled; however, the fear was allayed, based on the myriad positive usage and the fact that the key constituents of the cannabis plant required for industrial/medical use are not psychoactive nor have dependency potential.
4.0 Observations and Concerns
Participants and Panelists raised the following observations and concerns on the legalization and production of Cannabis Sativa:
The established laws on Cannabis Sativa such as the NDLEA law, NAFDAC Law, DDA Law and the likes are obsolete;
The economic benefit of the industrial production of Cannabis Sativa runs into billions of dollars, and could be leveraged upon for economic diversification and improved foreign exchange earnings;
The roadmaps needed to reduce stigmatization and negative public perception on the use of Cannabis Sativa, even in its medicinal and industrial form, when legalized, need to be defined;
The legislation has to be drafted in such a way that will not lead to substance abuse in the long run;
Despite of the downsides of the use of Cannabis Sativa, such as cognitive imbalance and addiction, especially among youths, its usage in drug constituents used to cure cancer and other chronic diseases outweigh the bad sides.
5.0 Governor’s Comments
Mr. Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, san in his remarks stated the importance of Cannabis Sativa and the need to change the narrative of usage of the plant, from cultural inhibitions that have been widespread for years. After all, all plants were created by God for the use of mankind. He stated clearly that all
the State was advocating for, was a legislation and an acceptance for a controlled cultivation of the plant for medicinal and industrial purposes. He said that the global market of Medicinal Cannabis was put at 52.8 billion dollars in 2019 and is forecasted to reach 103.9 billion dollars by 2024. Therefore, its commercial viability couldn’t be neglected.
According to him, all relevant regulatory bodies will be carried along in the implementation and licensing processes for farmers, researchers and industrialists. Also, controlled cultivation of the plant for medical usage will reduce its availability in the underworld market, adding that cultivators would like to sell in a more financially-rewarding markets. He charged the press to use its platforms to properly educate the public on the beneficial side of the plant. Only then will its destructive social and recreational tendencies be suppressed.
Mr. Governor expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders (legislators, the academia, professional bodies, MDAs, and the media) who have been working tirelessly to keep the positive narrative around Cannabis Sativa on-going, despite all odds. He pledged his full support to the cause and hoped that someday, the efforts being put in place right now will yield positive results on the society.
The following were the resolutions reached by the panelists and participants after the roundtable discussions:
Cannabis Sativa is a veritable source for medicinal intervention such as the treatment of glaucoma, diabetes, cancer, epilepsy, etc and also wealth creation;
The by-products of Cannabis Sativa are capable of creating a sustainable economic value-chain in Nigeria;
Efforts should be geared towards amendment of extant laws that hinder cultivation of Cannabis Sativa, so as to unlock its numerous benefits;
Government would fund local research of Cannabis Sativa, especially in the development of seed varieties and new methods of positive usage for societal benefit;
Foreign partners will be leveraged upon for technological and research assistance, so as to create the value chain locally, instead of exporting the raw materials;
7.0 Roundtable Discussion Recommendations
At the end of the roundtable discussion, panelists and participants recommended the following:
There should be deliberate efforts towards advocacy and positive orientation of the public on the positive benefits of the use of Cannabis Sativa;
A research institute dedicated to Cannabis should be set-up to supervise the development of new variants and strategies to unlock the multi-billion dollar industry;
The net of consultation with stakeholders should be widened to involve professional bodies such as NMA, PSN, Agricultural Scientists, Chemical Society of Nigeria, Marketers and law enforcement agencies such as NDLEA, NAFDAC and other regulatory agencies for the benefit of Ondo State and Nigeria;
Control of the medical usage of Cannabis Sativa should be the responsibility of Pharmacists and their professional organisations in developing rational and effective policies in tandem with the guidelines of International Pharmaceutical Federation (FIP);
Legislative activities in favour of legal cultivation of Cannabis Sativa should be sped up, so as to reap its health and industrial benefits on time;
The laws, if and when passed should be implemented at state level
An all-encompassing committee consisting of all stakeholders (Pharmacists, Doctors, Farmers, Lawmakers, Engineers, Scientists, Industrialists, Investors etc) should be set-up in view of the non-harmful use of
Cannabis Sativa; and
(viii) Nigerians in the diaspora with expertise in Cannabis or investors should be sought after, encourage and partnered with.
(ix) A Cannaheal Community to promote, develop, market and monitor cannabis production should be actively supported, funded to fulfil the goals of establishing the medical and economic cannabis project.