By Amin Kef Sesay
In a Press Conference held on Friday 2nd July, 2021 at the Culture Radio in the outskirts of Freetown, to be precise within the Grafton Community, it was revealed that the Sierra Leone Rastafarian Council within the country has sent in a petition proposing to the Government for the Legalization and Decriminalization of marijuana in the country.
Calling on the Press to inform the public on the values of marijuana to the country and human beings, Mohamed Elijah Gegra, Chief Advocate and Lead Petitioner of the Council identified the economical and medicinal values that developed countries are currently realizing after legalizing marijuana.
He furthered that the petition has been signed by 12,000 signatories across the country all consenting to decriminalize the planting and consumption of marijuana and calling for it to be legalized.
According to Spokesman of the Rastafarian Movement-Sierra Leone, Theophilus Sahr Gbenda, the consumption of marijuana is a right since the World Health Organization has removed it from the category of harmful drugs.
He highlighted that no Government can stop the consumption of marijuana also saying even the Military and Police Officers are consuming it in barracks.
Theophilus Sahr Gbenda informed that they are appealing to the Government to decriminalize marijuana for effective control.
In his keynote address, Mohamed Elijah Gegra (Fadda), Chief Advocate or Lead Petitioner, of the Sierra Leone Rastafarian Movement, , disclosed that the purpose of convening the Press Conference borders around the petition that the Rastafarian Council has presented to the Government on the 10th December 2020.
He added that many States in America and other countries like Canada, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, South Africa, Russia and have legalized marijuana as an international herb rhetorically asking: Why not Sierra Leone?
According to him, the herb is highly efficacious and can medically cure dangerous disease like tuberculosis and asthma.
He added that it also has spiritual benefits, serves as an appetizer with advantages of enriching users’ creative intelligence, intellectual faculties and recreational potentials.
In his concluding statement he made mention of the youth beating the odds of life by engaging in the cultivation of marijuana and being peddlers just to make financial ends meet saying some do take it to forget harsh economic times stating that marijuana is in no way harmful .
Ibrahim Bai Koroma, Executive Director of Citizens Rights Network Sierra Leone said as a Civil Society and a Human Rights Activist he is ready to support the petition for the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana maintaining that its economic value can develop the individual and the country as a whole.
Aiah Nabieu Mokuwah, Executive Director of the Institute for Drugs Control and Human Security said he has registered more than 400 marijuana growers adding that he is in support of Government legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana.