Lawmakers to Debate Bill to Grant, Revoke Licences for Cannabis Cultivation Today

Udora Orizu in Abuja

Members of the House of Representatives would today debate a bill seeking to amend the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency Act, 2004 to confer additional responsibility of the power to grant and revoke licences for the cultivation of Cannabis (or any of its three species namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indicia and Cannabis Ruderalis) plant for medicinal purposes.

The proposed legislation which was stepped down at the plenary, Wednesday in order to consolidate it with similar bill, was sponsored by Hon. Benjamin Kalu and Hon. Olumide Osoba.

 Kalu had at the plenary moved for the second reading of the Bill, but Hon. Miriam Onuoha raised a point of order, notifying the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, that she had sponsored a similar bill and hers should also have been consolidated and recognised.

Commenting, Hon. Nkem Abonta called for understanding from Onuoha due to legislative time factor.

Disagreeing, Hon. Makki Yalleman called for the stepping down of the bill to accommodate Onuoha’s bill.

On his part, the Chairman Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Hassan Fulata was of the view that Kalu’s bill should be ready for a second time, as the amendments of Onuoha’s Bill is seeking might differ from the current Bill.

Corroborating Fulata’s opinion, Hon. Sada Soli pointed out that there were some differences between the consolidated Bill and that of Onuoha.

But, the Speaker Gbajabiamila clarified that the subject matter seems similar enough and the House should err on the side of caution.

He stated that thoroughness cannot be sacrificed on the altar of time.

He thereafter ruled that the bill should be stepped down to allow all parties harmonise their views before the next legislative day.

Also at the plenary, the lawmakers passed through second reading a bill for an Act to Provide for Establishment of the National Food Safety Council and National Food Safety Management Committee for the Official Control of Food and Feed Safety, the obligations of Food and Feed Business Operators and define the Functions and Powers of Institutions of Government with the objective of ensuring that food and Feed Safety Risks are effectively managed.

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