A Parliamentarian has urged Government to legalise the production of mbanje for export purposes to fund the health sector.
The call comes at a time when government has said it is considering an application that has been made by a Canadian international company to produce cannabis for medical purposes, a move that will see the country legalising the production and use of marijuana in selected areas.
Speaking during the 2018 Parliamentary pre-budget seminar, Musikavanhu legislator Prosper Mutseyami (MDC-T) said some countries are generating money through the sale of mbanje.
“We are failing as a country to provide adequate health services for our people. But why can’t we legalise the sale of mbanje for export?” asked Mr Mutseyami.
He said some countries’ economies are doing well because of the money generated from selling the drug.
“We have countries like Uruguay and United States of America who have legalised selling weed. They’re making millions of dollars through that and their health sectors are blossoming. I therefore recommend the ministry to revisit the 1957 policy on mbanje as it can contribute to the fiscus,” said the MP.
In an interview, the Minister of Health and Child Care, Dr David Parirenyatwa, said recreational use of mbanje has side effects especially on youths.
“We are very cautious and aware of the uses of mbanje. It falls into three phases that is recreational, industrial and medical.
“If taken for recreational purposes, the harm to our people mainly the youths will be irreparable because if taken, it makes one to have high appetite and it always causes psychotic illnesses — what we call madness, rowdy behaviour among other effects,” said the Minister.
“We need to be very careful about letting it loose but on the medical side, l will consider a serious criticism like what other countries have done.”