BusinessDay

Why Nigeria needs to rethink hard stance on Cannabis (1)

In Nigeria, Cannabis or Marijuana as it is more popularly called is for all intent, an illegal item. This has been driven more from a moral standpoint where the plant is considered the source of a social vice that could impair the reasoning of individuals who abuse it.

However, Cannabis is fast becoming the bedrock of an emerging multi-billion dollar industry. It serves various uses from healthcare to nutrition, of course legislated in different ways across the world. As some countries take steps to put the plant to economic, health and other non-harmful human needs, it appears there is a need for re-orientation and policy direction for a utilitarian purpose in Nigeria.

Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500 company and global alcohol giant, announced in August 2018, that it was investing a further $4 billion in publicly traded Canadian marijuana grower Canopy Growth.  Founded in 2013 and traded in Toronto under the ticker WEED, Canopy is the largest publicly traded cannabis company in the world.

A month earlier in July 2018, New York-based, multi-state cannabis company Acreage Holdings announced it had raised $119 million through a Series E round of funding. At the time, it represented the largest private round in the history of the U.S. cannabis industry, surpassing the $100 million raised by Privateer Holdings in January of the same year.

These are few among several instances of investments in the cannabis industry, when companies have been emboldened to take such steps in societies the law has been adjusted to accommodate the budding industry. Controversies exist nonetheless, but the benefits as it appears are getting an edge to trump moral reservations. Both sides of the debate are of course important.

Cannabis is generally described as a family of plants with two primary classifications — Indica and Sativa. While marijuana can be considered a member of either the Indica or Sativa families, Hemp is a member of the Cannabis Sativa family.

According to the “Global State of Hemp: 2019 Industry Outlook”, Hemp has been making headlines for its impact on several mature markets – from food and textiles, to building construction and nutraceuticals. Hemp is emerging as a potential commodity ripe to not only influence but possibly revolutionize major economic sectors around the world

Continues next week…

 

CALEB OJEWALE