The Lusaka Times reports…


Green Party President Peter Sinkamba has assured members of the public that the judiciary will soon decide on implementation of medical cannabis laws.

Meanwhile, Mr. Sinkamba has commended the Legislature for consistently exerting pressure on the Executive to implement the medical cannabis laws enacted as far back as 1967.

Reacting to Government’s position in parliament yesterday that it had no plans to implement medical cannabis laws through the Zambia National Service, Mr. Sinkamba said since the Legislature and the Executive have had their say on the matter, it now apparent that the ball is in the court of the Judiciary to play its backstopping role and have a decisive say on the next steps concerning the matter.

“Parliament exercised its constitutional role by passing medical cannabis laws as far back as 1967. It has also consistently reminded the Executive to implement these laws. However, the Executive has impugned the Legislature by negating to implement the medical cannabis laws for more than 50 years, despite several reminders by the public and the Legislature to do so. Since the matter has been taken to courts of law, it is now abundantly clear that the ball is now in the hands of the Judiciary to play its constitutional backstopping role,” Mr. Sinkamba said.

He is confident that the glitch will soon be over.

“You see, this country imports pesticides such as rogor. This pesticide is used almost every for people to commit suicide or kill their enemies. Yet, the pesticide has never been banned and is sold openly without any prescription. Cars kill people every day, yet cars are licensed daily. No single person has ever been reported to have died from cannabis over-dose. As the Green Party, we think that we will soon be turning around the corner and implement these laws which for so long have been negated by the Executive without any justifiable cause. We think that fifty years of impunity is enough. There always must come a time in life when one has to say and enough is enough and for once do the right thing,” he added.

Yesterday in parliament, Chimwemwe Member of Parliament Mwila Mutale asked Government whether it had plans to implement the medical cannabis laws through the Zambia National Service.

In response, Government said it had no such plans. The response prompted several Members of Parliament to question the rationale by Government to sideline medical cannabis laws on the pretext of abuse when it had licensed the consumption and importation of more dangerous drugs such as alcohol which in fact had more devastating health effects on the public than cannabis.

Last year, Mr. Sinkamba, who has been an advocate of medical cannabis laws since 2013 sued the Minister of Health for refusing to issue him a licence to cultivate, manufacture, export and import cannabis for medical purposes pursuant to provisions of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1967 and the Medicines and Allied Substances Act of 2013 as well as the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1993. The matter is pending for determination before the Court of Appeal.