Barely days after legalizing medicinal Marijuana, Canada has run short of the drug, as various sale outlets no longer have stock to meet with the increasing demand from the populace, a BBC report said on Wednesday 24th October 2018. The black market has resorted to rationing its sale. This scarcity presents a huge opportunity for the government of Sierra Leone to encourage the export of the raw material and generate significant revenue in the process.
According to news Canada has 225,000 legal sale outlets and these have already run out of the drugs to meet the demands of the ever increasing customer base. Some 1 million users are said to be anxiously waiting to get their supply of medicinal cannabis. Shop owners dealing with the drugs are concern after making frantic efforts to get supply of the drugs in vain: “We were on the website, but there is nothing on the website. There is no product,” Karen Barry of Calgary’s Beltline Cannabis said (one medicinal marijuana dealer). Some stores are said to be posting ‘out of stock’ signs at their doors.
Sources say that in September, when early license holders were able to preorder the soon-to-be-legal product, supply was a problem. Out of the 300 advertised products, only 70 were available at the time. Shops just getting their licenses now are facing an even worse shortage.
“It’s day four of legalization … and nobody has all the answers right now, Canada can’t keep up with demand for the newly legal weed. Four days after the country put marijuana legalization into effect nationally, retail shops are nearly sold out”. AGLC spokeswoman, Heather Holmen said. Canada is projected to make $6.5 billion on annual sales.
To many Sierra Leoneans who listened to the BBC report, they say it is a very big opportunity for the government to encourage the exportation of medicinal marijuana and make serious benefit in the process. With the fertile land and the enabling environment for the cultivation of top grade medicinal marijuana, otherwise known as the mother plant, it is but prudent to embrace this venture. It could be recalled that Canada had long before legalizing the sale of the drug publicized it and issued licences to dealers for the sale of the drug, but they lacked the requisite supply to meet the demands of the market.
Furthermore, those who queued at the shops had medical prescriptions to purchase several varieties of the drug. Even the black market is unable to rescue the legal market.
Whilst cultivation of medical marijuana is not prohibited by the laws of Sierra Leone according to sections 46 and 47 (1) b:
46. No person shall export any narcotic drug unless he is
authorized to export the drug by a Licence granted under
section 47 and complies with any condition contained in
47. (1) The Minister acting on the advice of the Board, may
Grant a licence for import of a Narcotic drug or the
export of a narcotic drug if: –
(b) the minister is satisfied that the applicant is a person
To whom the Licence can properly be granted
Some social commentators say that the government should take advantage of this opportunity, especially as it has a control of the cultivation and the export of the plant as stipulated in sections 41 (1) and 64 (3) of the Pharmacy and Drugs Act 2001.
Cannabis NB sold nearly $945,000 worth of marijuana within the first 48 hours of legalization in Canada, the company’s President and CEO Brian Harriman announced on Wednesday 24th October (www. Leafscience.com).
Imaging that in barely 48 hours a single company sold medicinal marijuana worth the above amount, what then will the exporting country get, since it provides the raw material used to make the drugs. This is an indication that there is ready market for this crop and no one will run into any loss in such a venture.
It will further create jobs for the unemployed youth population in the country, reduce dependency on foreign aid as suggested by President Bio to his colleague African leaders recently, asking them to look to agriculture as a viable alternative to dependency on foreign aid. In the light of the above development, it is incumbent on the authorities to take the necessary steps to encourage the export of medicinal marijuana.
With much revenue generated, government can encourage the setting up of the laboratory and investments in the country which will encourage the establishment of Pharmaceutical companies who make drugs and eventually become a producer of the drugs as well as exporter, as the need arises.
Story Source: Ranger