Public Health Specialist Dr Canisius Banda says proper management of cannabis will be a game changer for Zambia’s economy.

And Banda has described President Edgar Lungu as a man abreast with the times.

In an interview, Dr Banda hailed government for considering decriminalizing medical marijuana.

“Being educated, informed and passionate about this country, it is exceedingly pleasing that he has, through his Minister of Health Dr Chitalu Chilufya, set up a committee of experts to firmly take Zambia towards the decriminalisation, export and medicinal use of Cannabis. This landmark presidential decision needs the support of all citizens. Cannabis is the leading cash crop of California whose economy is larger than that of Italy. Proper management of this crop will be a game changer for Zambia’s economy. It is going to add significant value to our GDP and subsequently the per capita income of citizens will rise and their poverty will fall,” Dr Banda said.

He highlighted the benefits of Cannabis.

“It is not disputable that Cannabis Sativa, the plant, was created by God for our use. All we need is the requisite knowledge on its use. Further, note that though there is nothing wrong with the tobacco leaf itself, smoking it the way people do through cigarettes might be wrong and anachronistic. New and safe methods of consuming tobacco need to be discovered and devised. In time, cigarettes might be abolished. There is significant and overwhelming scientific evidence that Cannabis is a potent medicine. It treats epilepsy, it cures chronic intractable pain, it stops vomiting, it promotes hair growth, it is an antidepressant, it restores brain health in dementia patients, it stimulates the appetite, and it fights cancer,” Dr Banda said.

Among other benefits of cannabis, Dr Banda said the crop can also be consumed as a salad or cake.

“Note that not all Cannabis is smoked. It can be taken as a salad, as cake, as a skin patch, as a tablet or as oil. Cannabis Sativa is a tropical plant and Zambia’s soils and weather are perfect for its cultivation. We pray that this committee of experts will quickly come up with the required framework for its cultivation, distribution, sale, use and regulation. I do recommend that, in the interest of the Republic, Mr Peter Sinkamba of the Green Party be made a member of this committee of experts,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Banda described President Edgar Lungu as a man abreast with the times.

“It is therefore a good breath of fresh air to note that our Republican President His Excellency Mr Edgar Chagwa Lungu is a man abreast with the times. He is in tune with the dictates of enlightenment. President Lungu ewabako (President Lungu is the man). He seeks to occasion the requisite change in the quality of our lives through enlightenment makes him the people’s President,” said Dr Banda.