Researcher tables petition to legalise bhang
It will no longer be illegal to plant, sale or trade in cannabis sativa (bhang) if a petition before Parliament becomes law.
The proposal by Mr Gwada Ogot, a researcher, writer and political analyst, would be introduced formally in the Senate once the lawmakers resume from recess on February 14.
It seeks 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 reads.
The request has since been forwarded to the Speaker for onward transmission to the Senate where it would be referred to the relevant committee.
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.
But Makueni Senator Mutula Kilonzo Jr said such a piece of legislative would not be good for the country.
“That is totally unacceptable. I vehemently oppose it,” Mr Kilonzo Jr said, adding that there is no guarantee that the law enforcement agents will ensure compliance.
“Bhang has medicinal value but we have abused its values. If the lobby group are doctors or pharmacists, a good argument can be made,” he said.