By Alagie Manneh
The spokesperson of a movement agitating for the legalisation of cannabis in The Gambia has warned that the country is “losing out big time” in marijuana farming as other nations look to it as a ticket out of poverty.
The movement, Decriminalisation of Cannabis (DOC), was formed in December 2019.
Speaking in a wide-ranging interview, spokesperson Pa Modou Mbowe said the benefits of cannabis outweigh any negatives associated with it.
He argued: “The only way to facelift our agricultural sector right now is to legalise the cultivation of marijuana for export and for medical and recreational purposes. The young people are not interested in growing groundnut because the price is going down drastically. Imagine if you legalise the growing of marijuana right now, and the government has about 200 acres of land, how many young people are going to work there? At this very junction, thousands of young people are waiting for that [the legalisation] to happen for us to boost our economy. We don’t want to travel. We want to stay in our country and this will not only facelift agriculture but beautify it and our GDP would more than double the $1.4 billion we went to look for in Brussels with strings attached.”
Mr Mbowe, a former managing director of the now defunct Daily Observer newspaper, said Europeans who introduced a provision banning cannabis in Gambia, are now reversing those laws seeing the numerous benefits it can offer.
“We have an opportunity to make our own medicine and curtail the numerous developmental challenges underpinning our people, and we are holding back? What are we waiting for? Are we really thinking for ourselves? When are we going wake up from our slumber?” he bluntly remarked.
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