Green Party presidential running mate Clement Tafeni says decriminalising Marijuana remains the sure way of tackling poverty in Zambia.
Mr Tafeni who is a lawyer by profession said Zambia has the potential to earn more than 36 billion US dollars in constructive application of Marijuana, which he said is more six times more than what the country earns from Copper production.
He said the current system does have solutions for millions of unemployed youths with no prospect of even going to college or technical school because of poverty.
“Because of hopelessness some resort to alcohol abuse and some to marijuana. The system imprisons the youths found in possession of marijuana and as a result their first contact with “college” is prison; we end up turning them into hard-core criminals,” Mr Tafeni says.
“Meanwhile, when we the Green Party say let’s decriminalize marijuana and focus our energies on how we can turn around the fortunes of this country from the billion-dollar industry some people think we are crazy,” he said.
Mr Tafeni said Zambia can economically benefit from this wonder crop if the country just opens its ears and discard the prejudices and fears around the crop.
“Our own law the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act in Section 9 recognizes the medicinal value of marijuana and expressly says the cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes shall not be an offence in Zambia.”
He said the Zambian government has deliberately ignored its own law and gone on rampage by just focusing on what he called the ‘tom and jerry games’ between the Drug Enforcement Commission and marijuana farmers, traders and consumers.
“We have said that we shall earn this country in excess of $36,000 Billion in constructive application of marijuana which is 6 times more than what the copper industry contributes to the coffers of this country; and we mean it,” he said.
He added, “It’s now a week ago when President Mr Peter Chazya Sinkamba and I filed in our nominations as President and Vice-President candidates, respectively, in the coming 11 August 2016 Presidential and General elections. As I reflect on the task before us as the Green Party, the task of transforming the mind sets of many of our compatriots I am happy that we have made great headway.”
Mr Tafeni said a great majority of Zambians have come to the realization that Zambia is not a poor country but a rich poor country.
“The irony of the state we have found ourselves in economically is as a result of being confined in our thinking and thinking that the foreign investors are the ones with solutions to our economic stagnation and retrogression.”