By Joshua Olomu
Abuja, Oct. 8, 2020 Agribusiness entrepreneurs, economic and legal experts have called for legal approval for the cultivation and sales of cannabis as viable alternative for revenue generation and economic growth.
The entrepreneurs made the call at a virtual media and stakeholders forum on the “Benefits and Opportunities of Cannabis Plants and Cannabidiol (CBD) Oil in Nigeria’’ on Thursday in Abuja.
The event was organised by Culturepreneur Clusters Ltd. in collaboration with Grow Cann Africa, a coalition of Canadian experts working on the development of non-intoxicant Cannabis, CBD and Industrial Hemp Industries in Africa.
According to the stakeholders, as the nation considers agribusiness as alternative source of national income and job creation, the cultivation and sales of cannabis, especially for export is a viable option.
They identified CBD oil, EU certified cannabis and hemp seeds, hemp cake and hemp fibre as some major cash products derivable from cannabis production.
Ms Adaku Uju, the President of Grow Cann Africa said increased revenue derived from export for government and job creation were some benefits of investing in cannabis.
“Our experience and findings show that countries have gained better traction in the development of their national cannabis and industrial hemp industry by granting exclusive license to a foreign partner to adequately build the market.
“We are excited and hopeful to work with and partner with Nigerian government and key agencies as the key arbitrator in Nigeria in granting exclusive license for non-intoxicating cannabis or CBD and industrial hemp cultivation and processing.
“Following rigorous research to understand the readiness and requirement to acquire license to operate in Nigeria, Grow Cann believes that Nigeria is well positioned to tap into the increasing global demand for this product as it hit 10 billion dollars in 2020.
“We will be happy to further outline the immense socioeconomic benefits of cannabis to the Nigerian government, citizens and African governments in general,” she said.
Oluwadamilola Oni, Project Facilitator for Culturepreneur Clusters Ltd. said the group was set to develop awareness programmes on the growth and use of cannabis.
“One of such forum will be held here in the FCT on Oct. 16, as we work toward contributing to our economy through cannabis business.’’
Dr Tonye Jaja, an expert in legislative drafting said that a legal framework that would regulate the cultivation and commercialisation of cannabis was important for the country to tap into the opportunities it offers.
He therefore called on relevant authorities, especially the National Assembly to complete work on the bill seeking to legalise the use of cannabis.
Naija247news reports that earlier in May, a bill seeking to legalise use of cannabis for medical and cosmetic purposes among other reasons, passed second reading in the House of Representatives.
Hon, Miriam Onuoha from Imo who sponsored the bill, said Nigeria stood to gain a lot economically if it utilised the plant for different purposes.