Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State has relentlessly canvassed for the legalisation of production of cannabis for economic gain, particularly in terms of exports. When our reporter spoke to Owolabi weeks ago, he disclosed that his boss and the Chairman/Chief Executive of NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Abdallah (retd.), were on their way to Thailand to strike a deal on how to export cannabis. The governor told his hosts, “We are here to study how cannabis can be of more advantage to the state (Ondo) and Nigeria at large just the way the Thai government has done. Cannabis is used for medical purposes.” While in Thailand, Akeredolu, with Abdullah in tow, visited the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok and were shown how to control cannabis, licensing and pharmaceutical benefits of cannabis. They also toured the university’s cannabis research laboratory.
With an estimated value of $145 billion in 2025, Akeredolu said his state must have a bite of the cannabis ‘pie’. “We all know that Ondo State is the hotbed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria. We know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State,” he had said on Twitter. “We would be short-changing ourselves if we fail to tap into the legal marijuana market.”
According to Akeredolu, the state government’s focus will be on medical marijuana cultivation in controlled plantations under the full supervision of NDLEA. After his visit to Thailand, the Ondo State governor appealed to the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to reconsider the country’s stance on cannabis.
“I strongly implore the federal government to take this (commercialising cannabis) seriously as it is a thriving industry that will create thousands of jobs for our youths and spur economic diversification,” he said.