Marijuana, ordinarily, is a weed. The dried leaves, flowering tops and stems, which can be used as a drug because of the curative properties are wrapped into cigarettes form and often smoked by people.
Cannabis is the plant yielding the marijuana leaves. It’s name is derived from Latin American Spanish. Historically, Marijuana came into Nigeria after the first and second world wars when Nigerians were conscipted to fight on the sides of Britain. Some of the soldiers on their return from Burma and North African military campaigns brought the weeds home. Marijuana Initially, Marijuana had several local names apart from the popular one – Indian Hemp.
It used to be called “Morocco,””Igboo,” “Ganja”, “Smoke”, “Grass”,”Weewee”, “Stone” etc. Because of its attribution to “mental disorder”, the authorities criminalised the smoking of Marijuana as anyone found in possession of it, or caught smoking is liable to be sentenced to six months in prison without option of fine. That was the situation until the military intervention on January 15, 1966, when the army took over from elected civilian government.
However, it was the military government of Yakubu Gowon who changed the punishment for smoking and possessing Indian Hemp from six months to 10 years imprisonment, thus making people to be aware that Marijuana was dangerous and could be the cause of violent crimes in the society.
This led to the police getting more returns from those caught smoking the weed at different joints and homes across the country. However when the Gowon regime was overthrown, the new military government of Maj-Gen Murtala Muhammed saw no reason for the long jail term for Indian hemp offences and therefore repelled that law, reverting the punishment to six months prison term.
This was received by the people with a sigh of relief. The sentence for marijuana possession had remained soft and flexible till the coming of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, NDLEA, which introduced stiff penalties for offenders and other serious drugs like cocaine, heroin, etc.
Marijuana has been found not to be harmful nor addictive and people need not be afraid of its usage, although it can make the smoker “high”, and operating in another thought-level. There are research studies indicating the medicinal, herbal, healing and curative qualities of marijuana. In some states in America, there is what is called “Medical Marijuana”which could be legally used with doctor’s prescription.
Doctors can prescribe marijuana for some ailments like epilepsy which has no cure, except by marijuana. Even children of two years and above are given “edible marijuana”for cure of epilepsy which has been very effective to control the frequent seizures. So the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana are now gaining ground in USA. Governor Christie of New Jersey is sending a bill to the state legislature to legalise use of marijuana for medical purposes.
Edible marijuana administered to a 2-year old child suffering from epilepsy has worked perfectly well with the child fully cured and seizures reduced from 100 a day now to zero.