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By: Ade Adeleke
The Ondo State governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, has shed light on his trip to Thailand for Medicinal Cannabis Extract Development in Ondo State, clarifying his statement of marijuana business in the state.
Governor Akeredolu who spoke at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos, shortly on arrival from Thailand, explained that the focus of his administration would be on medicinal Cannabis cultivation in controlled areas under the full supervision of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).
He refuted the rumour making the rounds that government was planning to encourage cannabis cultivation, noting that government was only looking at the possibility of having legally cultivated cannabis for Medicinal usage.
He explained that several countries across the globe are at the moment in dire need of some of the chemical substances found in Cannabis from which drugs that can cure some life-threatening ailments are produced.
The governor also said since many countries in the world are earning a lot from regulated cultivation of cannabis, the same thing can be replicated in the state by ensuring that only licensed persons are allowed to grow and cultivate it in a regulated areas for the purpose of extracting the hemp oil for exportation.
While saying that the development would improve Nigeria’s foreign earnings and economy and that of the state in particular, Arakunrin Akeredolu, however, said the cultivation may not be immediate as the state would have to be first of all be licensed by the Federal Government before going into it.
He assured that government would not go against the United Nations (UN) Single Convention which goes against accumulation of cannabis, adding that government would only license some people who would be given blocs in confined areas under the supervision of the regulatory agencies.
According to Governor Akeredolu, there is one year shortage of hemp oil need in Canada and Europe which must be filled in no time, otherwise other countries will take the attention.
It would be recalled that the State Governor alongside the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd) had visited Thailand for a Programme on Medicinal Cannabis Extract Development.
The programme which centred on exploiting the possibility of medicinal cannabis extract development was aimed at building capacity and researching the modality of licensing for planting and extracting cannabis oil in Nigeria as well as exploiting its commercial potential with focus on Ondo State.
The Ondo State Government and the NDLEA had used the visit to access Thailand materials and best practises with the possibility of replicating them in Nigeria.
At the briefing, the Secretary-General of Thai Food and Drug Administration Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong stated that the development would be of great advantage to the Nigerian Government.
Governor Akeredolu appreciated the Thai Government and said Ondo State has known as the largest in the planting of cannabis.
Col. Abdullah said the current trend in the world is now targeted at exploring the advantage of cannabis in making of food and drugs.
They also visited the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok where the Management made presentations on how to control cannabis, licensing, pharmaceutical benefits of cannabis etc
They also touched the University’s Cannabis research laboratory where Governor Akeredolu proposed that they also work along with Nigerian species during their research as Ondo State is ready for partnership with the Naresuan University Team.