• Friday, July 12, 2024
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Reps begin debate on cannabis cultivation bill Thursday

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The House of Representatives will on Thursday begin debate on a bill to grant and revoke licenses for the cultivation of cannabis commonly known as marijuana.

The bill which is for an Act to Amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Act, Cap. N30, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 is sponsored by Benjamin Okezie Kalu, the House spokesperson and Olumide Osoba (APC, Ogun).

The amendment is to confer additional responsibility of the power to grant and revoke licenses for the cultivation of Cannabis (or any of its three species namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indicia and Cannabis Ruderalis) Plant for Medicinal purposes.

The proposed legislation was however stepped down at the plenary on Wednesday in order to consolidate it with similar existing bill to avoid duplication.

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Kalu had moved for the second reading of the bill but Miriam Onuoha (APC, Imo) raised a point of order, notifying Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the House that she had sponsored a similar bill and it should also be consolidated and recognised.

Nkem Abonta (PDP, Abonta) called for understanding from Onuoha due to legislative time factor but Makki Yalleman (APC, Jigawa) suggested the stepping down of Kalu’s bill to accommodate Onuoha’s version.

Hassan Fulata, the Chairman Committee on Rules and Business, was of the view that Kalu’s bill should be read for a second time, as the amendments Onuoha’s “bill is seeking might differ from the current bill.”

On his part, Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) pointed out that there are some differences between the consolidated bill and that of Onuoha.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Gbajabiamila clarified that the subject matter seems similar enough and the House should err on the side of caution.

He stated that “thoroughness cannot be sacrificed on the altar of time-factor, though it is understandable that time really is of the essence” as the House has tons to achieve in the short time available to it.

Gbajabiamila directed that the bill should be stepped down to allow all parties harmonise their views before the next legislative day.

Also at the plenary, the House passed through second reading a Bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the National Food Safety Council and National Food Safety Management Committee.

The committee is to handle the official control of food and feed safety, the obligations of food and feed business operators and define the functions and powers of
institutions of government with the objective of ensuring that food and feed safety risks are effectively managed.