SWANU President Tangeni Iiyambo has openly defended the legalisation of marijuana, not only for its medicinal use, but for recreational purposes.
Speaking in parliament yesterday, Iiyambo said that the laws surrounding the use of marijuana, also known as ganja, are obsolete as they are from the apartheid era.
Iiyambo, in an interview with Informanté, said that the legalisation of ganja could revive Namibia’s economy as it is a multimillion-dollar industry.
“Alcohol is more toxic and it is legal. Namibia is such a conservative and backward country and it needs to catch up with other African countries. Ganja is harmless and it was used by our ancestors for various purposes. It can be used for relaxation purposes for example and to relieve work stress as opposed to the perceived causes of crime. Ganja users are relaxed people and the police should focus on the serious and prevalent crimes such as rape and murders, instead of arresting people in possession of ganja,” Iiyambo said.
According to Iiyambo, the United Nations called for member states to reduce the harshness on cannabis and calls are reaching a high level to decriminalise marijuana possession and usage.
With the current attitude towards the issue, Namibia stands to lose out on a potentially multibillion-dollar industry due to its one-sided conservativeness, he said.
“Is our government woefully out of touch with reality and globally obvious trends? Would cannabis and hemp products not offer a means to a livelihood if they were allowed to cultivate, process and trade in the industry? The government is discriminating Rastafarians from their culture as dagga is part of their inherent culture. Is the law in question not a violation of fundamental constitutional rights including the right to privacy?” Iiyambo wanted to know.
Two months ago, close to 200 users of ganja took to the streets to demand the legalisation of the naturally grown herb.