Zambia Police raid home of Cannabis Activist

David Julian Wightman
David Julian Wightman

Police over the weekend raided the home of a Canadian-raised journalist turned Cannabis activist and picked up his brother.

David Julian Wightman was not home when officers raided his home and his brother Nicholas was taken into custody.

Police are reportedly looking to arrest him as soon as possible

David moved back to his birth country of Zambia in 2013 to take care of his ailing father but it did not take long for him to notice the significant number of people being arrested and jailed for cannabis-related offenses in Zambia.

Upon witnessing these injustices, David began writing about what was happening on the ground.

He even started a Facebook page called The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws in Zambia (NORML) which is inspired but not affiliated with NORML in North America.

To the best of my knowledge, I have been targeted for the work I am currently engaged in to push for cannabis legalization in Zambia,” said David.

“In the last couple days, a state of emergency has been threatened by the Zambian president, meaning that police have been given extra powers. It is my understanding from talking to the Drug Enforcement Commission officer in charge who raided the farm, that they are taking advantage of the new police powers to come after me without a search warrant.”

David believes that he has been singled out because of his efforts to bring attention to cannabis reform.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I have been specifically targeted for speaking out against the grave injustices and human rights violations committed every single day by the Drug Enforcement Commission.”

Although David’s brother Nicholas is not involved in David’s journalism efforts, he was arrested by police when law enforcement showed up and David was not at home.

“I believe my brother has been detained because he was there and I was not. I am working with the lawyers to negotiate the release of my brother in exchange for me. It’s me they want, I have been the thorn in their side and holding my brother seems to be a form of insurance that I will turn myself in.”

David now has many people working on his behalf, including former DEC Prosecutor turned defence attorney Keith Mweemba.

David hopes that Mr. Mweemba will be able to push along the court system so his stay in prison is not indefinite.
“It will be a difficult defence as the new state of emergency powers mean they can delay my case so I don’t see a judge in good time,” said David.

“That said, if I am charged and held without bail I intend to declare my intention to hunger strike. I will also engage my fellow inmates who are being held for non-violent drug offenses to join me in hunger striking.”

Although David is a dual Canadian-Zambian citizen, returning to Canada in his opinion is not a viable option.

“I have thought about returning to Canada but I would much prefer to stay here and fight for legalization in Zambia. In Canada, the fight is almost won, but here we are just getting started, and my leadership and skill set can be of much greater impact here as far as I can see.”

As the sun sets on another day in Zambia, journalist David Julian Wightman prepares to go to prison for his belief that cannabis should be legal and that the people of Zambia should not be prosecuted for it.

“This war on drugs is clearly a gross violation of human rights at a time when legalization is spreading throughout the world. Scientific evidence is proving the many benefits of cannabis and the global movement is growing in strength and confidence,” he said.
“One way or another we will win this fight. If I have to be imprisoned for fighting for the human rights and natural justice of poor and powerless Zambians, I will not shy away from sitting in cells alongside them.”

The Drug Enforcement Commission of Zambia were not available for a comment at this time.


  1. +7

    They are arresting this chap meanwhile the real hard-core criminals like lungu who have stolen from us and abrogated the constitution are walking freely. The lightening that will strike lungu is still doing press ups

    • vote

      @jahjahbinks you smoke the stuff or something! The story says the guy is from Canada and you want him to be deported to Scotland! Please reduce content.

    • vote

      We dont need Ganja. Tongas are already mad we will lose them completely. We need and love them as they are.

  2. +6

    People who are burning pylons and setting markets ablaze are walking around town free. The only thing the Zambia Police know is raiding people’s homes.

    It’s unfortunate that the police service hasn’t reformed from the brutal ways that Roy Welenski used to raid the homes if KK and other freedom fighters from the 1950’s.

    You’re now a police service. You offer security services to the nation in a professional manner. You don’t work for our colonial masters any more.

  3. +2

    When I saw the headline, I immediately said to myself: “ba Sinkamba babagwila (Mr Sinkamba has been nabbed)”. Lol

    • +3

      I thought so as well. Lol. Am disappointed with the police. If this guy campaigns for the legalisation of cannibis why not call him to the station and engage him to hear his reasoning. You might miss a chance to make money why raid his home and take his brother? I thought they would tell us the found drugs at his home but they came out empty handed and got an innocent soul to suffer for his brothers sin. Twakacula naba Lungu.

  4. +3

    I think weed should just be legalized. because of the following.
    1) we black people used weed before colonialism. Our great grand parents used it, otherwise they wouldn’t manage to run during mufekeni (shaka Zulu wars)
    2)alcohol is more dangerous than weed. we have had many accidents as a result of drink driving than smoke driving.
    3) many Zambian homes are wrecked apart as a result of alcohol abuse than weed.
    So yes allow weed and tax it. allow sale by licence retailers. It will boost to tourism and bring revenue.

    • +2

      The best is to engage and debate the issue than arrest someone for advocating for something. Dont we have enough information of why it is wrong to smoke weed. Raiding people for advocacy shows that we seem not to have the ability to debate the issue. Some of the advocates dont even used the weed.

  5. +2

    Even those that went to arrest David’s brother are Chamba smokers themselves… The point is and its very rife among all of Zambia’s security wings i.e. 99.3 % of all the staff in ZP ,ZNS, Millitary, OP etc smoke Chamba.
    Try and conduct an informed test or ask them all to come and get tested for chamba and see how many will show up… There were give loads of excuses including ati Mwame niyenda kumalilo mailo, I can’t do the test…

  6. vote

    Even those that went to arrest David’s brother are Chamba smokers themselves… The point is and its very rife among all of Zambia’s security wings i.e. 99.3 % of all the staff in ZP ,ZNS, Millitary, OP etc smoke Chamba.
    Try and conduct an informed test or ask them all to come and get tested for chamba and see how many will show up… There were give loads of excuses including ati Mwame niyenda kumalilo mailo, I can’t do the test…

  7. +2

    De-colonisation begins with the mind.Re-colonisation equally is perpetrated by the mind being fed with notions of self unworthiness.The tendencies of our leaders and service people to ignore history and embress foreign values.History reference has always been the compass for any wise decision.As long as we can not define who we are?As long as we obey and copy without questioning?As long as we limit education to the confines of the four walls were we are kept imprisoned indotrinated by ideas of foreigners designing silly buses(syllabusses),our “educated”law makers will forever wear silly blond wigs and would you expect justice?Wake up tobbacco was introduced by colonialists to increase commerce encouraged by the likes of your saintly Dr.David Livingstone whom you still worship.The three…

  8. vote

    @ Artist
    This is wise council. How I wish ”we” Africans can start questioning the very reality we have been fed by these outsiders and start applying our own African way of life… IMAGINE everything that exists in Zambia or is known be good has western roots, the list is massive but education tops it all…

    @ Artist, will you marry me please, and together we can try and change the African mindset! Please

  9. +1

    Are you sure you are wanted for advocating the legalization of cannabis? what about Mr. G. Sinkamba why hasn’t been arrested?

  10. vote

    A person arrested for cannabis and is injustice? Who said so? NEZ is a spirit too! An evil spirit. H is a spirit too! Believers need to cast them out!

  11. vote

    Ba Lusaka times why do u want to know my location? Are u the proxy to the government….

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