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Why this city researcher wants MPs to legalise bhang

A researcher has petitioned the National Assembly’s Health Committee to legalise bhang claiming the country is losing Sh1.5 trillion annually in foreign exchange.

In an interview with the Nation, Mr Simon Mwaura, from Hyaquip Kenya—a science and innovation company—said bhang is not as bad as people have been made to believe pointing out that it is even more dangerous to smoke cigarettes than to smoke bhang.

SAFE FOR CONSUMPTION

In 2013, Prof Mwaura claimed that he carried out research on bhang, alongside miraa and came up with a way to separate the psychotropic components and leaving the plants safe for consumption.

The research he said was conducted at Jomo Kenyatta University of Science and Technology labs in 2013.

According to the scholar, when psychotropic component methanol is extracted from the plant, bhang becomes safe for human consumption as it contains nutrients such as carbohydrates and magnesium, key in boosting the body’s immunity.

“The psychotropic component is what give users the feeling of being high. When it is extracted, bhang is safe for consumption,” he said.

“Why should we continue to import food supplements using billions of taxpayers money yet we can easily get all the supplements from bhang, posed Prof Mwaura.

ECONOMIC VALUE

Although he is not a user, he said he is not advocating for legalization of bhang smoking, but only for its economic value.

The researcher said if his petition is successful, then bhang should only be grown in controlled areas under close supervision of the Kenya Defence Forces and the General Service Unit.

This is not the first time Mr Mwaura is seeking legalization of bhang. In a letter dated February 26, 2014, he wrote to the Ministry of Health and that of Agriculture seeking a permit for this business without success.

He hopes that as the ministry gives its report today in regards to his petition, they will consider his plight of legalizing bhang for economic value and not destroying the life of the youth.