Minister Speaks on Legalizing Medicinal Marijuana

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These were the words of Sierra Leone’s Minister of Health and Sanitation, Dr. Alpha Tejan Wurie. He was speaking in the meeting, where he discussed plans to place medical teams, including surgeons, pediatricians, obstetricians and gynecologists, as well as dentists and opticians in every district in Sierra Leone. The meeting took place recently at the Palais de Nations, the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

On the issue of using marijuana for medicinal purposes, Dr. Wurie said: “In Sierra Leone, cannabis or marijuana is overwhelmingly the drug of choice, particularly among young people. The National Drug Control Act 2008, however, prescribes criminal punishment for cannabis use as well as its cultivation or sale. This, of course, has livelihood as well as security implications.

“We align with the Common African Position on drug policy, agreed in Addis Ababa on 13-17 April 2015, which stated that the fundamental goal of drug policies “should be to improve the health, safety, security and socio-economic well-being of people by reducing drug use, drug-related harms, illicit trafficking and associated crimes.”

“This will be looked at closely with a view to reforming the law. The aim will be for law enforcement to focus on international and high-level illicit traffickers. The law may also regulate the cultivation, marketing and public access to marijuana. The overarching emphasis where users are concerned, we hope, will be on prevention, treatment, education, after-care and rehabilitation.

“My Government will be studying closely the document produced by the West African Commission on Drugs in September 2018, entitled Model Drug Law for West Africa, which we are contributing to. We find most of its recommendations sound. And we look forward to collaborating with the Commission and UNAIDS in the future,” the Health Minister said.