Africa: Ugandan Farmers Call for Marijuana Legalization 4/15/2005

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Farmers in Uganda's Busia district have responded to police raids on their marijuana crops by calling for legalization of the crop, the Kampala Monitor reported April 9. The calls came days after police in Uganda and neighboring Kenya destroyed 22 acres of pot plants.

Marijuana growing should be legalized because it is one of the district's major sources of income, farmers told the Monitor. Profits from the crop have helped educate local children, some of whom are High Court judges, the farmers claimed.

"It is only through marijuana growing that we have managed to take our children to school. It is on this record that the district has been able to produce good judges and lawyers," one of the farmers said. Another farmer, Mzee Opio Wanyama, 78, said he had been growing pot for 30 years and had managed to educate his 15 children with his profits.

Such talk didn't sit well with Steven Wantenga, officer in charge of the Busia Criminal Investigation Department, who said local growers were fond of smuggling their crop into Kenya. They should find other work, he said. "I call upon all local leaders to sensitize the masses about adopting new other income generating activities rather than smuggling and growing marijuana," Wantenga said. But he had no suggestions.

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Issue #382 -- 4/15/2005

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