Princess Miriam Onuoha, representing Okigwe North of Imo State presented a bill before the House of Representatives seeking the legalization and usage of industrial hemp plants for medical and scientific research. The bill, however, has passed the second reading.
Dr Tonye Jaja Clinton, a legal practitioner, made this known during a media conference held by Grow Cann Africa in Abuja. The conference discussed the benefits and opportunities of cannabis plant and CBD oil. This is prior to the move by Canadian experts for the cultivation and development of non-intoxicating Cannabis, Cannabidiol, CBD oil, and industrial hemp markets in the country.
The group, Grow CANN Africa, said Nigeria is well-positioned to tap into the increasing global demand for Cannabis, CBD oil and industrial hemp markets poised to hit $10 billion in 2020.
Uju Adaku, president of Grow CANN Africa spoke during a Zoom media parley held in Abuja. He said that their research has revealed that countries have profited more in the development of their national cannabis (CBD) and industrial hemp by granting an exclusive license to foreign partners with the technical know-how, which includes access to the global market to sufficiently structure the market.
Based on her report, in the last two years, the group has been meeting with the Nigeria High Commissioner to Canada, Canadian High Commissioner in Nigeria, Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, NAFDAC, as well as the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to talk about the development of the Nigerian non-intoxicating Cannabis, CBD oil, and industrial hemp.
She disclosed that they are seeking a license to pilot the non-intoxicating Cannabis CBD oil and industrial hemp research and development in Nigeria, subsequently, growing it to scale.
Dr Tony Jaja, the legal practitioner who developed the bill for the Cultivation, Processing and Commercialization of Cannabis, further stated that though the Nigerian Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act criminalized cannabis for medical research and commercial purpose, to ensure strict regulation of the cultivation, the bill put in place criteria for licensing. This would be done in such a way that anyone applying who proves that it’s purely for research or commercial purpose would be granted license, and even after the licenses are issued, it must be renewed periodically so that people do not misuse them.
According to him, the bill is not to create a new agency, but NDLEA will be in charge. He said the bill has passed second reading on the floor of the House of Representatives, stating that after the recess by the National Assembly, the House Committee on Narcotics will work on it before it is passed for third reading, and if it goes well, the bill will go to Senate for concurrence and the President for assent.