Kenyan Scientist Petitions Parliament to Legalize Marijuana

  • Professor Simon Mwaura, a Kenyan scientist, has petitioned Parliament to legalize marijuana, arguing that he had found a way to separate the plant's psychotropic elements therefore making it safe for consumption by all.

    Mwaura wants the plant used as a raw material to create food supplements as well as herbal and medicinal extracts.

    He disclosed that he had conducted research on marijuana and miraa (khat) before coming up with the findings.

    “These two main plants offer both herbal and medicinal extracts that can be used by a six-month old baby to a 90-year-old,” Mwaura noted.

    He further revealed that he came up with the formula in 1996 and it had been confirmed by the Government Chemist.

    [caption caption="Police with several rolls of bhang confiscated after a past operation in Changamwe"][/caption]

    The psychotropic components are what give users the feeling of 'highness', but upon separation, the plant is left with a number of nutrients such as magnesium and carbohydrates.

    Previously, Mwaura had written to the Ministry of Health as well as the Agriculture Ministry seeking permission to handle the banned substance in all 47 counties for purposes of his work.

    A response from the Registrar Pharmacy and Poisons Board Dr Kipkerich Koskei dated April 15, 2014 read in part: "Please note that marijuana plant and its products are prohibited by Kenyan law under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropics Substances (Control) Act, 1994." 

    The scientist, from innovation company Hyaquip Kenya, highlighted that Kenya would be the first country to export bhang as a herbal supplement if his plan was succesful.

    “You can blend it with coffee, tea, beet, spirits; it has very good compatibility,” he elucidated.

    Researcher Gwada Ogot had also presented a petition before lawmakers last year seeking to have marijuana legalized and classified as an income-generating crop.

    [caption caption="Gwada Ogot"][/caption]