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Delayed marijuana law implementation irks Green Party

By KETRA KALUNGA

IT’S sad that the country is going round in circles on actualising the production of marijuana for medicinal purposes because the UPND administration wants to take a methodical approach to mitigate abuse when adequate consultations were done before the law was passed in parliament, Green Party president, Peter Sinkamba has said.

Mr. Sinkamba said being methodical when implementing the law on actualising the production of medicinal marijuana at this point would not work because it means suspending all laws and coming up with new ones.

He said in an interview that the country was going round in circles on a very straight forward issue of implementing the law that was passed in parliament by subjecting the matter to a consultative process.

“We were the pioneers of this agenda in  Zambia through the Green Party in 2013 and along the way other countries borrowed from the idea, in Swaziland, Lesotho, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Malawi, Uganda and several other African countries and us we are still moving around in circles,” he said.

Mr. Sinkamba said when the law was passed in parliament, it went through all the written rules of consultations with various stakeholders who included UPND Members of Parliament some of whom are now ministers who at the time sat as chairperson of the committees on health, agriculture and security.

He said adequate consultations were done and the laws in their current form could meet any international standards therefore the best thing to have done was to implement the laws and if there are any challenges along the way, make amends.

Mr. Sinkamba said the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act No. 35 of 2011 dealt with the issues of abuse and all stakeholders were consulted before the bill was presented to parliament.

He said in any case there was no law that achieves 100 percent of the objectives and this is where the provision of amendments to the law comes in to mitigate the challenges faced along the way.

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