DLEAG Against Idea of Legalization of Cultivating Marijuana in Gambia
The Drug Law Enforcement Agency – The Gambia (DLEAG) refused to by the idea of decriminalizing the cultivation and usage of marijuana in the country.
The spokesperson of the institution, Ousman Saidybah told journalists recently that The Gambia do not have proper infrastructures in place to legalize marijuana as it will cause more damages to young people in the society.
He said cannabis is proven to be highly addictive due to the content of tetrahydrocannabinol which makes several smokers glued to it. According to him, many users of major drugs normally started with cannabis.
“I believe there is a lot of misconception with regards to these issue and people tend not to only understand the difference between allowing open abuse and decriminalization drugs.”
He said no country anywhere in the world has decriminalized permitted de-trafficking of drugs.
“We need to assess our own reality of the situation that exists in our country. You conduct visibility study in your own country to assess what the local reality is. And with regards to the information that you get from your local reality, I think that should inform your own policies,” he said.
He said despite the cannabis being prohibited in the country now, they still have constraint to control it.
“People are also talking about cultivation, now when you talk about cultivation you have to think about marketing of this product, and you also need to think about the prevention of diversion” he said.
He said the countries that use cannabis product and transform it into other by-products, the youth in this part are smoking and inhaling it.
“How can a sensible person think, analyze that the person who smoke through your system is something that is healthy,” he said.
Apart from arresting the suspected users, Saidybah said Gambia is doing a lot with regards to drugs demand reduction which deals with prevention, treatment and care, harm reduction, alternative development and livelihood.
“…if we are to decriminalize without putting the infrastructure in place, people using drugs are we saying there are no health implications that are associated with the usage of drug, are we prepared for that?” he asked.
“I believe it’s one thing to have good laws, but it is something totally different to have the infrastructure that supports the realization of these laws.”
He said the users are engaging in a ‘very risky live style and behavior, most of whom who could be tempted to exceed any legal limits in their activities.
“We are not the enemies, except if we are saying that drugs are not threat to us,” he reacted to how they are generally perceived by people.
He calls for a concerted effort from all and sundry to fight and end the usage of drugs in the country.
The DLEAG has recently seized 204 kilograms of cannabis sativa from 13 suspects including the Gambians and Senegalese nationals and they were paraded before the media. The suspects are currently helping the police and drug officials in investigations.
By Awa Mboow.