• There's a booming cannabis/weed business in Lagos and no one is talking about it As Nigerians sit home today to celebrate the the 2017 May Day, it is important we take a moment to reflect on an issue that's fast becoming a menace in the society. We all know it, we see it but we choose to turn a blind eye to it. Some 5/10 years ago, It used to be difficult to get access to weed/cannabis let alone smoke it in public places. Back then touts sell it 'codedly' at select places like the then Kuramo beach, Oshodi under bridge, garages and other dark spots. Those who sell and smoke it do so with fear and a certain level of respect for the law but fast forward to 2017, caution has been thrown to the wind and you find weed/cannabis readily available and publicly smoked with a level of recklessness that's scary. It's getting really bad that any one can get these drugs that has now evolved from just weed to all sorts of narcotics with different names like 'Weed, SK, Loud, Arizona, Igbeshin, codeine, refnol, shisha' and it's readily available at night clubs, pubs, joints, mechanic workshops even cab drivers peddle it and no one is doing anything about it. Lagos State and indeed Nigeria has a huge decision to make and it needs to happen soon. We need to decide if we want to run a referendum to legalise Cannabis or totally fight it. In the course of this report, LIB spoke to users of cannabis who spoke to us anonymously. Most of them eulogised the health benefits of cannabis, how cannabis is causing major breakthrough in medicine one even said, 'bros abeg go read about am, cannabis is good for your body, if you google am you go see am'. Another respondent told us, 'if it's as bad as you claim why is it being legalised in many deleoped countries? abi you get sense pass them?'. What the Law says: Created in 1990, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has the job of curtailing the consumption of drugs in Nigeria. And the 2004 NDLEA Act is explicitly clear on the use/sale of drugs with clearly outlined punishments. Section 11(2) (b) of the act says, 'in respect of offences under paragraphs (c), (f), (g) and (i) thereof, anyone found guilty will be imprisoned for a term not less than fifteen years and not exceeding twenty-five years. Other releveant sections of the law says; 11. (1) Any person who, without lawful authority (the proof of which shall lie on him) commits any of the following Offences, that is to say (a) engages in the production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, offering, offering for sale, distribution, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transportation, importation or exportation of any narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance contrary to the provisions of the 1961 Convention and its Protocols, or the 1971 Convention and its Protocols or the United Nations Convention Against illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1989; (b) engages in the cultivation of opium, opium poppy, coca bush or cannabis plant for the purpose of the production of narcotic drugs contrary to the 1961 Convention; (c) has in his possession or engages or purchases any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance for the purpose of any of the activities enumerated in paragraph (a) of this subsection; (d) engages in the acquisition, possession or use of property knowing at the time of its acquisition, possession or use that such property was derived from any offence referred to in this section; (e) engages in the possession of equipment or material or substance listed in the Second Schedule to this Act knowing that such equipment, material or substance are to be used in or for the illicit cultivation, production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances; (f) incites or induces any person by any means whatsoever to commit any of the offences referred to in this section; (g) conspires with, aids, abets, counsels or attempts to commit any of the offences referred to in this section; (h) engages in the manufacture, transportation or distribution of equipment, materials or of any substance listed in the Second Schedule to this Act knowing that such equipment, material or substance are to be used in or for the illicit cultivation, production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances; (i) engages in the management, organisation or financing of any of the offences under paragraphs (a) to (e) and (h) of this subsection; (j) engages in the conversion or transfer of property knowing that such property is derived from any offence under this subsection; (k) engages in the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to or ownership of property knowing that such property is derived from any offence referred to in this section, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, be liable on conviction to the penalties provided in subsection (2) of this section. Federation (2) The penalties for offences under subsection (1) of this section shall- (a) in respect of an offence under paragraphs (a), (b), (d), (e), (h) and (j) thereof, be imprisonment for life; (b) in respect of offences under paragraphs (c), (f), (g) and (i) thereof, be imprisonment for a term not less than fifteen years and not exceeding twenty-five years. (3) The Tribunal before whom an accused is being convicted may in addition to the punishment prescribed in subsection (2) of this section, make an order requiring an offender to undergo measures such as treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation or social re-integration. (4) Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the Tribunal before whom a minor is being convicted may, in an appropriate case, make an order as the circumstances may determine- (a) either as an alternative to conviction or punishment; or (b) for treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation, social integration of the offender. Conclusion: The truth is, weed is weed, cannabis is cannabis, marijuana is marijuana and they are all dangerous narcotics. No matter how we justify it with it's fast growing medical advantage or the fact that most countries are beginning to legalise it, hard drugs will always remain hard drugs and it'll always be bad for your health in the long run! Written by Adedayo Sowemimo

    As Nigerians sit home today to celebrate the the 2017 May Day, it is important we take a moment to reflect on an issue that's fast becoming a menace in the society. We all know it, we see it but we choose to turn a blind eye to it.

    Some 5/10 years ago, It used to be difficult to get access to weed/cannabis let alone smoke it in public places. Back then touts sell it 'codedly' at select places like the then Kuramo beach, Oshodi under bridge, garages and other dark spots.

    Those who sell and smoke it do so with fear and a certain level of respect for the law but fast forward to 2017, caution has been thrown to the wind and you find weed/cannabis readily available and publicly smoked with a level of recklessness that's scary.

    It's getting really bad that any one can get these drugs that has now evolved from just weed to all sorts of narcotics with different names like 'Weed, SK, Loud, Arizona, Igbeshin, codeine, refnol, shisha' and it's readily available at night clubs, pubs,  joints,  mechanic workshops even cab drivers peddle it and no one is doing anything about it.

    Lagos State and indeed Nigeria has a huge decision to make and it needs to happen soon. We need to decide if we want to run a referendum to legalise Cannabis or totally fight it. 

    In the course of this report, LIB spoke to users of cannabis who spoke to us anonymously. Most of them eulogised the health benefits of cannabis, how cannabis is causing major breakthrough in medicine one even said, 'bros abeg go read about am, cannabis is good for your body, if you google am you go see am'.
      
    Another respondent told us, 'if it's as bad as you claim why is it being legalised in many deleoped countries? abi you get sense pass them?'.


    What the Law says:

    Created in 1990, the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) has the job of curtailing the consumption of drugs in Nigeria. And the 2004 NDLEA Act is explicitly clear on the use/sale of drugs with clearly outlined punishments.

    Section 11(2) (b) of the act says, 'in respect of offences under paragraphs (c), (f), (g) and (i) thereof, anyone found guilty will be imprisoned for a term not less than fifteen years and not exceeding twenty-five years.

    Other releveant sections of the law says;

    11. (1) Any person who, without lawful authority (the proof of which shall lie on him) commits any of the following Offences, that is to say
     
    (a)    engages in the production, manufacture, extraction, preparation, offering, offering for sale, distribution, sale, delivery on any terms whatsoever, brokerage, dispatch, dispatch in transit, transportation, importation or exportation of any narcotic drug or any psychotropic substance contrary to the provisions of the 1961 Convention and its Protocols, or the 1971 Convention and its Protocols or the United Nations Convention Against illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances 1989;
     
    (b)    engages in the cultivation of opium, opium poppy, coca bush or cannabis plant for the purpose of the production of narcotic drugs contrary to the 1961 Convention;
     
    (c)    has in his possession or engages or purchases any narcotic drug         or psychotropic substance for the purpose of any of the activities  enumerated in paragraph (a) of this subsection;
    (d)    engages in the acquisition, possession or use of property knowing at the time of its acquisition, possession or use that such property was derived from any offence referred to in this section;
     
    (e)    engages in the possession of equipment or material or substance listed in the Second Schedule to this Act knowing that such equipment, material or substance are to be used in or for the illicit cultivation, production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances;
     
    (f)     incites or induces any person by any means whatsoever to commit any of the offences referred to in this section;
     
    (g)    conspires with, aids, abets, counsels or attempts to commit any of         the offences referred to in this section;


    (h)    engages in the manufacture, transportation or distribution of equipment, materials or of any substance listed in the Second Schedule to this Act knowing that such equipment, material or substance are to be used in or for the illicit cultivation, production or manufacture of narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances;

    (i)     engages in the management, organisation or financing of any of         the offences under paragraphs (a) to (e) and (h) of this                         subsection;


    (j)     engages in the conversion or transfer of property knowing that              such property is derived from any offence under this subsection;


    (k)    engages in the concealment or disguise of the true nature, source, location, disposition, movement, rights with respect to or ownership of property knowing that such property is derived from any offence referred to in this section, shall be guilty of an offence under this Act and subject to the provisions of subsection (3) of this section, be liable on conviction to the penalties provided in subsection (2) of this section.
    Federation
    (2)    The penalties for offences under subsection (1) of this section             shall-

    (a)    in respect of an offence under paragraphs (a), (b), (d), (e), (h)             and (j) thereof, be imprisonment for life;


    (b)    in respect of offences under paragraphs (c), (f), (g) and (i)                 thereof, be imprisonment for a term not less than fifteen years             and not exceeding twenty-five years.


    (3)    The Tribunal before whom an accused is being convicted may in addition to the punishment prescribed in subsection (2) of this section, make an order requiring an offender to undergo measures such as treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation or social re-integration.
     
    (4)    Notwithstanding subsections (2) and (3) of this section, the Tribunal before whom a minor is being convicted may, in an appropriate case, make an order as the circumstances may determine-
     
    (a)    either as an alternative to conviction or punishment; or
     
    (b)    for treatment, education, aftercare, rehabilitation, social integration of the offender.


    Conclusion:

    The truth is, weed is weed, cannabis is cannabis, marijuana is marijuana and they are all dangerous narcotics. No matter how we justify it with it's fast growing medical advantage or the fact that most countries are beginning to legalise it, hard drugs will always remain hard drugs and it'll always be bad for your health in the long run!
     
    Written by Adedayo Sowemimo
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