An MDC-T legislator has urged the government to legalise marijuana saying the move will help boost exports and assist in the treatment of some ailments.
By Nokuthaba Dlamini
Musikavanhu MP Prosper Mutseyami made the call yesterday after Health and Child Care minister David Parirenyatwa told legislators at the just-ended 2018 pre-budget seminar that Zimbabwe’s health system was too reliant on donor funding.
Mutseyami said mbanje (marijuana) could be a solution to some of Zimbabwe’s health problems.
“We are failing as a country to provide adequate health for our people but one asks, why can’t we legalise mbanje for export and local use to help revamp our health sector?” he asked.
“We have countries like Uruguay and the United States, which have legalised the selling of weed.
“They are making millions of dollars through that and their health sectors are blossoming.
“I, therefore, recommend that the ministry revisit its 1957 policy on mbanje as it can contribute to health financing.”
Parirenyatwa said his ministry was ready to explore the issue, adding that the legal use of marijuana could be in three categories: recreational, industrial and medical purposes.
“If taken for recreational purposes, the harm to our people, mainly the youths, will be irreparable,” the minister said.
“It makes one have a high appetite for food and it always causes psychotic illnesses, what we call madness, rowdy behaviour, among other effects.
“We need to be very careful about letting it loose but on the medical side. I will consider a serious research like what other countries have done.
“But for industrial use, I will have to consult to see how the marijuana fibre works to make handbags and shoes, among other strong materials.”
Parirenyatwa said the use of marijuana was prevalent in places like Binga and Chipinge. However, consumption, cultivation and selling of marijuana is illegal in Zimbabwe.
Meanwhile, Binga North MP Prince Dubeko Sibanda (MDC-T) called for more research on cancer diagnosis and treatment as much focus was currently being put on HIV and Aids.