Letter to the Editor

Public opinion on legalising marijuana needed

Dear editor,
WITHOUT an iota of doubt, marijuana (Ibange in Bemba) is among the narcotic drugs that are not allowed to be cultivated or traded in our country because it has very bad effects on the mental well-being of those who smoke it.Many people’s mental illness (madness) is associated with the use of marijuana. Those who made attempts to sell it in foreign countries are languishing in jails abroad.
For that reason, the Drug Enforcement Commission has a mandate to ensure that the cultivation of and vending in this drug is controlled to the maximum.
And uncompromising efforts of DEC have paid off because many would be growers of this plant if it was not for the long arm of the law, and if they dare do that, they do so at the risk of being sent to jail.
Our learned medical practitioners are now saying growing marijuana for medicinal purposes is okay (Zambia Daily Mail, Monday, May 21, 2018).
As a layman, I wish to submit that I do not know anything about the curative effect of marijuana on any ailment. And I won’t argue.
However, medical doctors know very well that many mental illness cases at Chainama Hills Hospital and all over the country are due to substance abuse. There is therefore need to tread cautiously on this matter.
Before taking the matter to Parliament there is need to engage the Church, civil society and members of the general public for their opinion.
Anything short of that may backfire on this Christian country. “Ukwali insoke, takwafwile muntu” (To be forewarned is to be fore-armed).
CHRISTOPHER CHISHA
Kapiri Mposhi

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