Senate's statement on legalising bhang

It is illegal to smoke bhang in Kenya.

Senate Speaker Kenneth Lusaka confirmed that the petition was received alongside a petition by the Universities Academic Staff Union (UASU) regarding the 2013 – 2017 Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for Universities Academic Staff.

“The Senate has received a petition from Mr. Sammy Gwada Ogot seeking decriminalization of the Cannabis Sativa plant and its derivatives,” the Senate Tweeted.

In February, Mr Gwada Ogot, a researcher, writer and political analyst, introduced formally in the Senate a petition with an intention of legalizing bhang in Kenya arguing that it had numerous medicinal value. He sought to decriminalise and legalise the drug.

If his wish is granted, bhang will be deleted from the list of narcotic drugs as listed in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1994.

Those serving jail terms for offences related to the drug will have to be set free if the law-makers agree to process the petition, into law.

“The petition complies with the law and the Senate Standing Orders on the form of public petition and is, therefore, admissible,” a letter from the Senate dated February 2, acknowledging receipt of the document read.

Mr Ogot would have to be summoned by the MPs to defend his position, the problem is not the plant but the law.

In his proposal, he wants a Cannabis Sativa Board of Kenya established to oversee the sector.

Earlier, Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr had argued that such a piece of legislation would not be good for the country.

“That is totally unacceptable. I vehemently oppose it. Bhang has medicinal value but we have abused its values. If the lobby group are doctors or pharmacists, a good argument can be made,” Mr Kilonzo Jr had said, adding that there is no guarantee that the law enforcement agents will ensure compliance.

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