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Sauti Sol joins chorus on legalisation of marijuana

By Hilary Kimuyu October 15th, 2020 2 min read

Popular boy band Sauti Sol has joined the growing chorus pushing for the legalisation of marijuana, popularly known as weed.

Cannabis Sativa is the world’s most popular drug and is the highest value therapeutic crop known at the moment, despite being illegal in many parts of the world, including Kenya.

Sauti Sol on Wednesday issued an open-ended statement on Twitter which can only be construed to mean they support the relaxation of existing strict laws against ganja.

“Heavenly father we see what you’re doing in Rwanda,” they posted while quoting a storyon Twitter on legalisation of marijuana in Rwanda.

On Monday, Rwanda approved the cultivation and export of Marijuana hoping to tap into the Sh37 trillion ($345 billion) global market.

Rwanda could be a new entrant into an industry that is already lucrative elsewhere.

“The cabinet approved regulatory guidelines on cultivating, processing and export of therapeutic crops,” read minutes from the cabinet meeting held on Monday.

According to the Minister of Health Dr Daniel Ngamije, the country will now allow the growing of cannabis, but it will be exclusively for export.

Sauti Sol join outspoken Narok Senator Ledama Ole Kina who has been campaigning for the legalisation of marijuana in Kenya.

In 2018, former Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth wrote to the Speaker of the National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi to facilitate him in preparing a Bill, the Marijuana Control Bill, which sought to decriminalise the growth and use of the stimulant.

Bien-Aimé Baraza, Willis Chimano, Savara Mudigi and Polycarp Otieno are members of Sauti Sol, arguably Kenya’s most successful music group currently.

Marijuana is considered a narcotic in Kenya and its cultivation, possession and use are a criminal offence under the Penal Code.

One can be jailed for between 10 and 20 years, if convicted even as the drug is widely used or abused by many people locally.

Scientists have hailed the drug’s medicinal value with research showing that it is effective in fighting chronic pain, some cancers, glaucoma, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression among others.

The late Okoth, who died of cancer, in his draft Bill to parliament, sought to have a regulation for the growth and safe use of the stimulant, including the registration of growers, producers, manufacturers and users.

The late MP also wanted research and policy development on growth and use of marijuana and help for medical, industrial, textile and recreational purposes “with a focus on preservation of intellectual property rights for Kenyan research and natural heritage, knowledge and our indigenous plant assets.”

Lesotho, South Africa and Zimbabwe are some of the African countries that have relaxed rules on the drug’s medicinal and recreational use.