A legal appraisal of Njaga Cannabis and associated Medicinal Herbs in Uganda.
Cannabis is a drug plant. People use the dried leaves, seed oil, and other parts of the cannabis plant for recreational and medicinal purposes. It can have a pleasurable effect and may soothe the symptoms of various conditions, such as chronic pain. It is prudent to say that the first written record of the plant consumption and growing is in South Africa. Jan van Riebeeck, who ordered officers of the Voorman to purchase "daccha" in Natal for trade with the Khoikhoi. The Dutch East India Company attempted to establish a monopoly on its sale, and to that end prohibited cultivation of the plant by Cape settlers from 1680. However, the ready availability of cannabis in the wild and through trade with indigenous peoples meant that there was little profit to be made. Consequently, the prohibition was lifted in 1700. Beginning in 1860, the Natal Colony began to import Indian workers (called "coolies" at the time) to supplement their labour force. These Indians brought with them the habit of consuming cannabis and hashish, which blended with local, extant African traditions. The European authorities were concerned by this practice, believing it sapped the vitality of their workers; consequently, in 1870, Natal's Coolie Law Consolidation prohibited "the smoking, use, or possession by and the sale, barter, or gift to, any Coolies whatsoever, of any portion of the hemp plant (Cannabis sativa) ..." Over 10 countries have now legalized marijuana, these include, Lesotho. The high-altitude, landlocked kingdom encircled by South Africa, was the first country in the continent to legalise medicinal cultivation of weed in 2017, South Africa, Netherlands, Canada, Colombia, United States, Rwanda, Morocco. The legality of cannabis for medical and recreational use varies by country, in terms of its possession, distribution, and cultivation, and (in regards to medical) how it can be consumed and what medical conditions it can be used for. These policies in most countries are regulated by three United Nations treaties: the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, the 1971 Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and the 1988 Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances. Cannabis is classified as a Schedule I drug under the Single Convention treaty, meaning that signatories can allow medical use but that it is considered to be an addictive drug with a serious risk of abuse. The use of cannabis for recreational purposes is prohibited in most countries; however, many have adopted a policy of decriminalization to make simple possession a non-criminal offense (often similar to a minor traffic violation). Others have much more severe penalties such as some Asian and Middle Eastern countries where possession of even small amounts is punished by imprisonment for several years. Countries that have legalized recreational use of cannabis are Canada, Georgia, Malta, Mexico, South Africa, Thailand, and Uruguay, plus 19 states, 2 territories, and the District of Columbia in the United States and the Australian Capital Territory in Australia. Commercial sale of recreational cannabis is legalized nationwide in two countries (Canada and Uruguay) and in all subnational U.S. jurisdictions that have legalized possession except Washington, D.C. A policy of limited enforcement has also been adopted in many countries, in particular the Netherlands where the sale of cannabis is tolerated at licensed coffeeshops. Countries that have legalized medical use of cannabis include Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, C ostaRica, Croatia, Cyprus, CzechRepublic, Denmark, Ecuador, Finland, Ge rmany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembo urg, Malawi, Malta, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Panama, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, San Marino, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Thailand, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. Others have more restrictive laws that allow only the use of certain cannabis-derived pharmaceuticals, such as Sativex, Marinol, or Epidiolex. In the United States, 37 states, 4 territories, and the District of Columbia have legalized the medical use of cannabis, but at the federal level its use remains prohibited. Interestingly Njaja (cannabis) and Mirra (khat), although designated as noncommercial herbs, there use both medically and economically cannot be underestimated, neighboring countries like Kenya and Ethiopia have actually delegalized their trade, and have adopted an open policy for khat as a very major source of economic production, by way of comparison khat as a source of income in Ethiopia and Kenya beats all our exports combined. It’s also prudent to note that where tea grows khat will easily grow, in fact several planes ferry khat on daily basis to Mogadishu and Kenya on average earns about to there million dollars out of khat. If we are to argue in terms of the level of intoxication it can be argued that one beer bottle is equivalent to several kilograms (which would be several sacks full) of Cannabis which is practically impossible for one to consume in a single day. This therefore poses the question is it not time to delegalize these herbal plants and advocate for an open policy for cannabis and other herb medicinal plants.