A Zanu PF parliamentarian, Uzumba MP, Simbaneuta Mudarikwa this week stunned the House during Wednesday’s question-and-answer session when he suggested marijuana should be legalised.
Mudarikwa asked Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development minister Joseph Made why the prohibited crop also known as mbanje or cannabis should not be legally grown in Zimbabwe for medicinal purposes.
“I would like to know from the Minister of Agriculture, Mechanisation and Irrigation Development the national policy with regards to creating export processing zones (EPZ) in remote areas,” said Mudarikwa. “The reason for creating the EPZs in those remote areas is so that we can grow marijuana.”
Mudarikwa argued the prohibited crop was beneficial because of its medicinal values and said other countries had legalised it.
“Other countries like California (sic) and Norway have legalised it,” Mudarikwa said amidst interjections from other MPs.
However, Made said the issue of marijuana was a controversial one as there were security concerns associated with the crop.
“I think the question is a loaded one and would not be answered by one minister as such because first of all Mudarikwa raised the question of EPZs. He also raised the question of the medicinal values of the crop itself,” said Made.
Made said the issue of security was important to consider because of the nature of the crop.
“However, that crop is not authorised here in this country and from a policy point of view this crop is prohibited,” said Made.
According to the United Nations, marijuana, “is the most widely used illicit substance in the world as it is a psychoactive drug”.
However, the use of marijuana is said to have started as long ago as the third millennium before Christ.
In modern times, marijuana has been used for recreational, religious and medicinal purposes.
Rastafarians use it as part of religious rites and have argued it leads them to a higher state of consciousness.
In the 2004 UN report, it was revealed an estimated 4% of the world’s adult population (162 million) use marijuana annually and about 0,6% (22, 5 million) use it daily.
There are arguments that its medicinal uses include the treatment of asthma, glaucoma, blood pressure and many other ailments.
In some countries it has been declared illegal and efforts to prohibit its usage have been intensified, while other countries have a limited ban on the drug.