KENYA — The world’s largest medicinal market, Kenya’s largest producer of marijuana, and the world’s biggest exporter of medicinal marijuana are all at odds over whether or not to legalize the plant.
Kenya’s chief medical officer, Dr. Monyela Bounsour, told ABC News the government’s position is “not yet settled.”
She said a new law that was expected to come into effect this month would legalize medicinal marijuana in certain areas.
“We have been pushing for this law to come to the legislature, but we have not yet received any responses,” she said.
The country has been battling against rampant drug use for more than a decade.
In a recent report by the World Health Organization, Kenya reported the second-highest rate of drug use in the world.
In the past two years, Kenya has seen a surge in drug use.
Dr. Bounsesour said Kenya is one of the few countries in the Middle East where the legalization of marijuana would not result in a loss of public health.
She said the country’s drug problem is a product of the social and economic conditions in which the country is.
“The drug problem has got to be addressed.
The government has to take measures and address it, but it is not the sole responsibility of the government to address it,” she told ABCNews.”
As the drug problem grows, there will be an increase in the drug usage, and that is not acceptable.
We have to address this issue.”
Dr. MONYELA BOUNSOUR, Kenya Chief Medical Officer: We have been advocating for this legislation to come before the parliament, but have not received any response.
Kenya’s Chief Medical officer said the government has been pushing to legalize medicinal cannabis.
Dr Bounshe said there was “a very clear lack of understanding” from the public and the media about the health risks of marijuana.
In the past year, the country has seen an increase of drug consumption, with some officials even saying the drug is making people sicker.
The president of the Kenya Medical Association said last month that marijuana was being used by criminals.
Kofi Annan, the United Nations Secretary-General, said last year that the country needs to move toward legalizing marijuana to curb drug use and curb the spread of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, also called on Kenya to legalize medical marijuana.
The president of Kenya’s National Association for the Medical Treatment of Addicts and Narcotics, David Mahima, said the opposition is attempting to use marijuana as a scapegoat to cover up the government-led drug crackdown.
Mahima told ABC affiliate KenyaTV last week that the opposition has tried to portray the government as a drug abuser.
He said that is why the opposition and the government have been working together to pass the new law.
He said that even though marijuana use is not a crime in Kenya, people should not feel safe taking it.
“There is a big difference between marijuana and a cigarette,” he said.
“If you smoke marijuana, there is a huge risk of lung cancer and HIV.
And if you smoke a cigarette, there are a lot of dangers.”
Dr Boubousour, who also is the countrys health minister, said there are “many problems that we face.”