Namibia not ready to legalise marijuana: Shanghala

12 Jul 2019 08:40am
WINDHOEK, 12 JUL (NAMPA) – Justice Minister Sakeus Shanghala has ruled out the possibility of legalising the use of marijuana in Namibia, saying the country is not ready to manage its legalisation.
Shanghala made the country’s position on the matter known in the National Assembly on Thursday.
It was in response to numerous calls by pro-marijuana legalisation groups who have been calling on Government to decriminalise the use or possession of marijuana.
“Marijuana is a serious offence in Namibia because Namibia is not able to deal with the devastating effects of the drug on our people,” Shanghala said.
He shot down one of the chief reasons advanced by those propagating the legalisation of marijuana - that it will be used for medicinal purposes, saying the vast majority of court statistics on marijuana cases show it is used for recreational and not medicinal use.
Further, he argued that other commercially available drugs are subject to rigorous clinical trials to evaluate safety and efficacy, something which cannot be said about marijuana.
The minister agreed that components of marijuana do have potential therapeutic effects to alleviate diseases such as cancer, but added that “there has never been a need from the medical fraternity to substitute those medicines with marijuana”.
As such, the negative impacts of marijuana outweigh its purported benefits, Shanghala submitted to the August house.
“Marijuana is distinctive. It is known to cause schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders. It has detrimental effects on cognition and can impair ability to drive or work,” he said.
Shanghala added that instead of focusing on the legalisation of marijuana, Namibians should direct their attention and energy to “solve the ever-growing alcohol abuse problem”.
At present, the Abuse of Dependence-Producing Substances and Rehabilitation Centres Act of 1971 prohibits the use or possession of marijuana (dagga).