Legalize it! Sonko, ODM leaders now want Ken Okoth’s Marijuana Bill passed


Legalize it! Sonko, ODM leaders now want Ken Okoth's Marijuana Bill passed
File Photo of late Kibra MP Ken Okoth.

In Summary

  • MP Okoth, who died on July 26, 2019, had last year written to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi petitioning for the legalization and regulation of marijuana to ensure its safe usage.
  • A section of politicians from across the country have however since, following Okoth’s death, revived the discussion on the Marijuana Control Bill 2018 on various platforms, in public and online.

Late Kibra Member of Parliament Ken Okoth’s push for the legalization of marijuana in the country has gained fresh momentum following renewed support by political leaders after his demise.

MP Okoth, who died on July 26, 2019, had last year written to National Assembly Speaker Justin Muturi petitioning for the legalization and regulation of marijuana to ensure its safe usage.

“The proposed Bill seeks to ensure that there is regulation for growth and safe use of marijuana and hemp including the registration of growers of growers, producers, manufacturers and users with special focus on protection of children/minors from illicit use just as we do with tobacco and alcohol,” read the September, 21, 2018 letter.

A section of politicians from across the country have however since, following Okoth’s death, revived the discussion on the Marijuana Control Bill 2018 on various platforms, in public and online.

Speaking during the late Kibra MP’s memorial mass at Moi Girls School in Nairobi on Thursday, Governor Mike Sonko urged youthful legislators to pick the mantle from Ken and table the Bill before the National Assembly in his honour.

The Nairobi county boss, in jest, further stated that President Uhuru Kenyatta’s impending trip to Jamaica could prove useful to the country when the Bill goes through in terms of importation of marijuana.

“Our brother who has fallen had a very important proposition, people are afraid to say controversial things but I will say it, our brother wanted marijuana/bhang to be legalized. And because we hear that bhang is medicinal and can cure cancer, youthful legislators present here like Babu Owino, KJ and Jaguar, do not let that good work started by Ken Okoth to end with his death. Push through with that Bill and see to it that bhang is legalized,” said Governor Sonko.

“And you also know that the president is going to Jamaica. If the Bill goes through, we will ensure that we import clean bhang from Jamaica to help cure cancer.”

Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) Secretary General Edwin Sifuna, on his part, stated that the party would take up the Bill and push it forth.

“On the issue of medical marijuana, as you have heard that duty has been delegate to the likes of Babu Owino, but I would wish that it becomes the duty of ODM as a party so that we’re able to realize the goals which it had been intended to achieve.”

National Assembly Deputy Speaker Moses Cheboi also chimed in on the Bill however stating that it should be presented to the House by senior lawmakers who understand it to its entirety and not young legislators.

Mathare MP Anthony Oluoch also, during a session in the National Assembly on Tuesday, supported the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes, also reiterating that it can help cure cancer.

Nairobi Woman Representative Esther Passaris, responding to a Twitter user who has said “This is the time to legalize medical marijuana” with “I second.”

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Story By Ian Omondi
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