Mental Health Experts Caution Parliament Against Legalisng Marijuana

Marijuana plant. PHOTO/THE SPRUCE PETS

Kampala, Uganda | The Black Examiner  – The Addiction Prevention and Rehabilitation Association of Uganda has cautioned parliament against legalizing Marijuana saying that it will cause havoc among young people.

The umbrella body for institutions involved in prevention of mental health illness revealed that legalizing marijuana will accelerate drug abuse across the country, and yet is has already caused much wreckage among the youths.

Isharaza Mwebaze, a psychologist noted that one can not say growing is being legalized and usage is prohibited. He said it can never be so.

“You can not say you are legalizing the growing but not use. You can not say we are exporting poison to other people but for us we keep safe.”

He further added that countries that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use have had to bear the consequences of usage as well.

Dr. Juliet Nakku of Butabika Hospital on the other hand cautioned that the health of young people should be priotised over economic pressure for Marijuana business.
Out of the 7,035 patients admitted at Butabika hospital in 2022, 25 percent of these were under the influence of Cannabis and alcohol.

Instead, APRAU urged the government to tighten regulations on the use the narcotic substances to help nationals. They suggested for the government to target especially controlled drugs like tramadol, pethidine, and other psychoactive medications, given their accessibility and potential adverse effects if misused.

Discussions around the same were triggered earlier this year when the Constitutional Court in Kampala repealed the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2015 which prohibited the sale and use of several narcotic drugs in the country.

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“In the premises, I would declare the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2015 null and void for lack of quorum on the part of parliament contrary to articles 88 and 89 of the Constitution and rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure of the 9th parliament ,2012 made, pursuant to articles 88 and 94 of the Constitution,” Justice Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi said in a lead judgement.

The Government following the same reintroduced the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Bill, 2023.

The Bill was tabled before Parliament on 23rd May, 2023, seeking to criminalize the use, farming, supply, and trading of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.

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