Ondo State Governor, Rotimi Akeredolu has called for the legalisation of the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, stating that it is a potential foreign exchange earner.
Akeredolu made the charge during a live interview programme as part of activities to commemorate 100 days of his second term in office.
According to the governor, who also doubles as the Chairman of the South-West Governors’ Forum, cannabis cultivation would benefit the country amid calls that it could lead to drug abuse.
In his remarks, cannabis had benefitted other countries economically and health-wise, citing Thailand as a vivid example.
“We must find a way to legalise the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes. There is nothing wrong about it.
We are only shooting ourselves in the foot. It is a foreign exchange earner for people outside the country. People want this. We ourselves, even our pharmacies want to develop.
“I travelled out of here and I was in Thailand trying to study the cultivation of cannabis for pharmaceutical use. We did all these; we even went there with NDLEA (National Drug Law Enforcement Agency).
“The [NDLEA] chairman at that time went with us, maybe he came and said what he went for was for a different thing but that was why we went and all I felt that let us look at the way they did it over there.
The governor also dismissed claims that the cannabis would result in a drug problem, adding that it would be strictly monitored.
He said, “Everybody has drug problem, most country has drug problem. We are having it here, it is not as pronounced here as in other places but there are ways they went about these things that those who are involved in drugs, those who are selling, those who are exporting had other ways of doing things that they had to leave it.
“So, when we talk about cultivation, we are saying in which it is a monitored one, in which NDLEA will have an office (near farms).”