Senate petitioned to legalise bhang as presidential candidate confesses to smoking drug

The proposal by Mr Gwada Ogot, a researcher, which seeks to decriminalise and legalise the drug, is already before the Senate.

Revellers smoking bhang at a past event.

Nyamira Senator and 2017 presidential candidate Kennedy Mong’are surprised his colleagues in the chambers during the debate when he confessed as having previously been a bhang smoker and criticised those against the petition.

“Strict regulations do not help. It is abused because of laws criminalising it. The problem with Kenyans is living in denial,” Mong’are argued.

The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1994 lists bhang as a banned substance.

Multiple benefits

Ogot, argues in part that the plant - scientifically known as Cannabis Sativa – has multiple documented benefits.

He says the medicinal and industrial uses of the plant, upon its legalisation, will be of 'great social and economic gains'.

“Research has indicated that bhang can be used for medicinal purposes to cure diseases. It is disease resistant and can be replanted several times a year without use of pesticides,” Mr Ogot argued in the petition.

Crimes and controversies over the plant, he said, are due to its prohibition, adding that if legalised, it can be one of the cash crops and contribute to improving people’s living standards besides boosting the country’s revenue.

Regulatory body

Section 3 (2) (a) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act lists cannabis as a banned substance.

Ogot wants marijuana expunged from the list and a new law legislated to establish a regulatory body – the Cannabis Sativa Board of Kenya (CSBK) to govern its use.

Ogot cites several US states and at least 25 countries had decriminalised the use of cannabis in his petition.

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