Cannabis users petitioning government at Oshakati

Members of the Ganja Users of Namibia (GUN) staged another demonstration at Oshakati in the Oshana Region asking the government to legalise the use of cannabis, locally known as epangwe.

They were a group of more than 20 cannabis users from the regions of Oshana, Khomas, Hardap, Kavango East, Erongo, Kavango West and //Karas.

The group march covered a distance of more than 500 metres to the office of the governor of Oshana Region, Elia Irimari, and handed over their five-page petition there.

In their petition the group once again demanded, amongst others, immediate repeal of Act 41 of 1971 or it to be amended by omitting or deleting cannabis from the schedule under the heading Prohibited Dependency Producing Drugs.

We call on the parliament to establish a commission that controls and regulates the cannabis industry in Namibia for the benefit of the estimated 200 000 Namibians who use cannabis, said the group's spokesperson, Boro Ndungula, in presenting their petition.

According to Ndungula, cannabis/ganja prohibiting law is outdated, colonial, discriminatory and it is a violation of the GUN members' fundamental rights to freedom and privacy.

He charged that using cannabis is a harmless crime and demanded the police to stop arresting its users and cannabis-related cases against suspected offenders to be ceased, as they are not a threat to national security and the society at large.

We appeal to the parliament to repeal or amend this Act, Ndungula emphasized and at the same time appealed to the Office of the President to treat it as a matter of national urgency by engaging in an open dialogue to modernize the Act for the benefit of all Namibians.

The group gave the National Assembly 21 days to tell them whether the Act is in violation of Namibian Constituency or not.

Receiving the petition on behalf of Irimari, one of the senior officers in the office, Moses Matatias said the petition was well received and will be directed and forwarded to the Ministry of Justice without delay.

He called on the protesters to continue upholding the Constitution and protecting the laws of Namibia.

Legalise marijuana - natural herb must be freedom and legal were some of the messages on the posters waved by GUN protesters throughout their march.

Source: Namibia Press Agency