Barely six weeks after presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC) and pro-democracy campaigner Omoyele Sowore called the rise of cannabis as the “new oil” in global trade, Canada has legalized the use of the controversial plant, following the footsteps of South Africa and some states in the United States.
On Wednesday, Canada became only the second country in the world (after South Africa) and the first major economy to legalize marijuana use, as major world companies clamor to join what is known as “the green rush”.
On August 15, during an event on national health policy organized by the Centre For Social Justice, Sowore had said: “We have to start taking care of our weed, Igbo, such that we can also contribute to the GDP of the world, people who are…some of the best weed in the world is grown in Ekiti State and… I’m very serious. People are making billions out of that plant that is very potent in Nigeria, we should be focusing on it. Our NDLEA should get the memo that Nigeria will be exporting weed to cure cancer in other parts of the world instead of chasing after people who are growing weed when they are not chasing after politicians who are smoking cocaine in their own houses…”
He added in a separate interview, I prefer an Ekiti State making N1.5 trillion from marijuana export to an Ekiti running to Abuja every month for crumbs from oil revenue.”
The video went viral and kick-started a conversation that divided opinions between the younger generation who seemed to think it is a great economic idea and the older ones who believed it was a sinful conversation that would spur the society to decadence.
Ajose Kuku, 25, said “For saying this he already has my vote. I have been saying this for a very long time, other countries are moving forward with ideas, this is one of the ideas we need…can you imagine? If we dress a certain way SARS will arrest us; NDLEA will be there also.”
Benedette Okeke had also said: “Why will someone who wants to be President be saying things like this? I am shocked; is this what he will teach the younger ones? it’s bad.”
Aware of this generational divide, Sowore, in subsequent interviews, is quoted to have said: “Statistics have shown that 70% of Nigeria’s population are young people; the ruling class, who do not make up to one percent, are old people who have analog brains and cannot think of innovative ideas and solutions that will resonate with the majority of people in the country and this is why, in 2019, Nigeria must elect a young person who has demonstrated the capacity to be visionary and has digital solutions that can compete globally.”
Notwithstanding this conversation, the earliest companies to get in the game are already making a fortune or planning to do so. For example, Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail has hired reporters and editors to produce “Cannabis Professional”, a daily newsletter that will cost 2,000 Canadian dollars a year for the subscription.
Beverage company Coca-Cola is in multi-billion dollar talks with marijuana company Aurora Cannabis about developing cannabis-infused beverages.
The global legal cannabis market is expected to be worth a whopping $146.4 billion trade by 2025, according to Grand View Research Inc; Nigeria reportedly looses N1.5 trillion yearly to the destruction of its local cannabis growth, which is criminalized under the countries constitution.
Even as the world moves on to find new products in global trade that will drive the world economy, Nigeria’s 70% who will go to the polls are increasingly beginning to look for younger alternatives who will provide innovative economic solutions which are sustainable post 2019, a mental task Sowore says the current political class is incapable of.