Research on the proposed Marijuana Control Bill - Pharmaceutical Society of Kenya (PSK)

Marijuana (Cannabis) in Kenya is controlled under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act of 1994 rev 2012 (CAP 245), previously the Dangerous Drugs Act. The Act stipulates specific penalties around the cultivation, processing, trafficking and possession of Cannabis (marijuana) as illegal in all forms of use.

A Kenyan legislator has proposed a Marijuana Control Bill aimed at legalizing the cultivation and use of marijuana – for medicinal, industrial and recreational use.

PSK’s position is that Kenya should find a way to exploit marijuana to provide medical and industrial benefits only. PSK is opposed to recreational use of the drug.

Whilst the wide-ranging medicinal properties of cannabis are well known, the grim effects of dependence, addiction, and disabling psychosis are the reason its cultivation and use is illegal in 130 countries.

In several countries there has been a shift to decriminalise and/ or legalise cannabis. Countries that have legalized the medical use of cannabis include Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, 

Norway, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Peru, Poland, and Thailand. Others have more restrictive laws that only allow the use of certain cannabis-derived pharmaceutical drugs. Cannabis has been used to treat patients: epilepsy, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, cancer, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome among others.

PSK posits that whilst medicinal use of cannabis may be justified, there should be an appropriate legal framework to reduce the social drawbacks of recreational use. NACADA estimates that there are an estimated 1.0% of Kenyans aged 15 – 65 years currently using bhang/ cannabis out of whom (0.8%) have bhang/ cannabis use disorders.

PSK seeks to: conduct research on the regulation of cannabis for medicinal use to ensure that there are appropriate mechanisms to exploit the medical benefits while protecting the citizens, especially the youth, from excessive use, and abuse of the drug.