Governor Rotimi Akeredolu said his administration has commenced efforts to legitimise cannabis cultivation in Ondo State.
Akeredolu sparked backlash after tweeting that the state planned to tap into marijuana market, which he said was projected to be $145bn by 2025.
The governor, who was in Thailand, a precursor to the commencement of the project, tweeted via his verified Twitter handle @RotimiAkeredolu: “We are here to study how cannabis can be more advantageous to the (Ondo) State and Nigeria at large, just the way Thai Government has done…We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State. How to grow cannabis is never a problem in Ondo State.”
The plan was greeted with criticism, even by the presidency in the form of a statement released by the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee for the Elimination of Drug Abuse, Gen. Mohammed Marwa.
Marwa said, “It is disturbing that at this time when about 10 million Nigerians are abusing cannabis, anyone or group will be considering or advocating for Nigeria to legalise the growing of marijuana for economic or whatever purposes. We dare say that no economic gain is worth the life of any Nigerian daily damaged on the street as a result of the effect of cannabis.”
Despite the objection of the federal government to the proposal, Ondo State government is committed to it, and has initiated move to legalise it, according to the State Commissioner for Information, Mr Yemi Olowolabi.
“We are still at the elementary stage of this matter. Before we legalise cannabis growing in this state, it has to pass through certain procedures and we have begun the procedures,” Olowolabi told Punchng.com.