Gov. Akeredolu calls for Legalization of Cannabis in Ondo State for Medical use
On May 13, 2020, Governor Akeredolu of Ondo State Nigeria was quoted as saying he would want marijuana legalized. Marijuana is also called pot or hemp. Its legalization is causing a seismic shift in personal values in the United States of America.
The governor argued that the $145billion marijuana market was up for grabs and would want Ondo State to participate fully in the legalized trade.
Marijuana is a recreational drug also used in the medical treatment of a wide range of illnesses and conditions in Medicine. Several states in the US have decriminalized the drug leading an inflow of resources and markets to producers. Producers and retailers in North America for the Marijuana drug have even gotten listed on the NYSE and trades daily.
Marijuana possession, cultivation, or marketing is still a crime in Nigeria enforced by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA). NDLEA was created in 1989 with a specific mandate to create a no-growth environment for the cultivation and possession of Cannabis, punishable by 15 years imprisonment or life imprisonment. The precursor to the 1989 law, the Cannabis Act in Nigeria even stipulated the outright death penalty for offenders. Presently, Ondo State is the hot-bed for the cultivation of Cannabis in Nigeria.
The North America legal cannabis market was worth US$ 12.9 Billion in 2019. Cannabis is a drug derived from the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant that grows in the tropical and temperate areas of the world. Also known as hash, weed, marijuana, pot, dope, smoke, and cone, cannabis can be obtained in various forms ranging from the simple process of drying and curing marijuana flowers to the sophisticated chemistry of producing cannabis concentrates. In North America, the legal landscape is giving way to the decriminalization and full legalization of cannabis, owing to which it is gaining prominence for both medical and recreational purposes.
In the United States, marijuana has been legalized in 30 states for medicinal use, and in 9 states for both therapeutic as well as recreational purposes. In Canada, medicinal usage of the drug has been legalized since 2001; however, its recreational use has been authorized through a bill passed in June 2018. This modification in the regulatory landscape has led to an increase in the usage of medical cannabis for treating several diseases associated with changing lifestyles such as chronic pain, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, social anxiety, cancer, multiple sclerosis, and epilepsy. Also, with the implementation of these stringent regulations, suppliers have to comply with proper safety control measures and provide consumers with high-quality products, which further acts in favor of the growth of the market.
The use of industrial hemp, a product derived from cannabis, has also expanded to a great variety of products, including health foods, organic body care, clothing, construction materials, biofuels, and plastic composites. Moreover, increasing research and development (R&D) activities in the medical applications of cannabis are expected to create positive opportunities for both the existing players and new entrants in the upcoming years. Looking forward, the North America legal cannabis market is expected to witness strong growth during the forecast period (2020-2025).
Breakup by Product Derived:
- Industrial Hemp
Marijuana currently represents the leading segment. It is a greenish-grey mixture of the dried flowers of Cannabis sativa. The applications of marijuana are further divided on the basis of medical and recreational uses. Its therapeutic applications include the treatment of various diseases such as migraine, cancer, arthritis, and others.
Breakup by Distribution Channel:
- Regulated Dispensary
- Recreational Stores
- Stand-Alone Retailers
Among these, legal cannabis is mostly distributed through regulatory dispensaries.
- United States
Country-wise, the United States enjoys a leading position in the market as the medical use of cannabis has been legalized in 31 states including the territories of Puerto Rico and Guam, and the District of Columbia and in 9 states including California, Nevada, Alaska and Colorado for both medicinal and recreational uses.
The market is highly fragmented with the presence of numerous small and large manufacturers who compete in terms of prices and quality. Some of the leading players operating in the market are:
- 22nd Century Group, Inc
- Medical Marijuana Inc
- Hemp, Inc.
- Axim Biotechnologies, Inc
- Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
- Canopy Growth Corporation
- Aphria Inc.
- Aurora Cannabis Inc.
- Abcann Medicinals Inc.
Canopy growth corporation is listed on the NYSE. Its stock price has grown by 17% at the time of writing this report.
The Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Chairman was on the trip to Thailand with Governor Akeredolu to inspect the budding medical cannabis market in Thailand.
The President of Nigeria is yet to give assent to Gov. Akeredolu’s request. Also, the process of legalization of Marijuana/ Indian Hemp in Nigeria may be fraught with difficulty as the National Assembly has to create a bill to legalize the drug.