The Zambia Medical Association (ZMA) has joined calls for the legalisation of the medical use of marijuana and the farming of the crop. This is a controversial position in a country where the majority of the citizens are Christian.
ZMA President Dr Aaron Mujajati urged government and other stakeholders to “seriously investigate” the merits of the medicinal usage of the herb.
“There are many ways in which marijuana can be constructively used other than smoking. There is enough evidence to prove that marijuana has numerous medical properties,” Mujajati said. “Government, the civil society and ourselves should take the lead on the use of the plant and have a discussion based on evidence, so that we know the way forward,” he stressed.
He further observed that a “knee-jerk reaction” would not help the nation to fully investigate the case for or against cannabis production.
“When we talk about the medical use of marijuana, we are not saying the people should start smoking it or that patients should smoke marijuana. What we need is evidence-based consensus so that we can move forward,” he said. “This is the time for all stakeholders, especially the ones who have been debating the subject in private, to come out in the open and air their views.”
Mariuana farming could earn top dollar
Zambia’s GREEN Party president, Peter Sinkamba, had during the August 2016 elections controversially campaigned for the legalisation of marijuana farming as a cash crop to boost Zambia’s much needed foreign exchange revenue.
He had reasoned that cannabis were a high value crop and its production could earn Zambia an estimated USD36 billion annually.
Sinkamba’s controversial views seem to have found resonance in some sections of Zambian society. The stance taken by ZMA is likely to add more impetus to the call for the farming of marijuana for medicinal and commercial purposes.