Ondo state governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, SAN, has raised an alarm that Nigeria may lose an estimated value of $145 billion by 2025 if it failed to tap into the legal marijuana market.
The governor made this known via his verified twitter handle on Tuesday while reacting to some media reports that he was in Thailand to learn how to grow cannabis.
Akeredolu who described Ondo state as the hot bed of cannabis cultivation in Nigeria, noted that how to grow cannabis is never a problem in the sunshine state.
According to him, “we know how to grow it and it thrives well in the Sunshine State.”
The governor said the focus of his administration is on medical marijuana cultivation in controlled plantations under the full supervision of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) while imploring the federal government to take it seriously as it is a thriving industry that will create over one thousand jobs for the youths and spur economic diversification.
Akeredolu alongside the Chairman of the NDLEA, Col. Muhammad Mustapha Abdallah (rtd) are on a visit to Thailand for a programme on Medicinal Cannabis Extract Development.
The programme which is centred around exploiting the possibility of medicinal cannabis extract development, is aimed at building capacity and researching the modality of licensing for planting and extracting cannabis oil in Nigeria as well as exploiting its commercial potential with focus on Ondo state.
Ondo state government and the NDLEA are using the visit to access Thailand materials and best practices with the possibility of replicating them in Nigeria.
At the briefing, the Secretary-General of Thai Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Tares Krassanairawiwong, stated that the meeting will be of great advantage to the Nigerian government.
Akeredolu, who commended the Thai government, said Ondo state is known as the largest state in the planting of cannabis in Nigeria.
He said, “we are here to study how cannabis can be of more advantage to the state and Nigeria at large just the way Thai government has done.
“Cannabis is used for medical purposes; how can it be cultivated for specific purposes and not be abused?”
Col. Abdullah said the current trend in the world is to look into the advantage of cannabis in the making of food and drugs.
During the trip, they also visited the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Naresuan University, Phitsanulok where the school management made presentations on how to control cannabis, licensing and pharmaceutical benefits of cannabis, among others.
They also toured the University’s cannabis research laboratory where Governor Akeredolu proposed that they also work along with Nigerian species during their research as Ondo state is ready for partnership with the Naresuan University team.