Pubdate: Sat, 13 Sep 2003
Source: Monitor, The (Uganda)
Copyright: 2003 The Monitor.
Author: Simeo Nsubuga


Smoking marijuana (weed), which is commonly known as enjagga is an offence 
and according to Section 49 of the National Drug Policy and Authority 
Statute (1993) no person shall:

(a) Smoke opium or Indian hemp or frequent any place used for smoking.

(b) Permit premises owned or occupied by him to be used by a person smoking 
opium or Indian hemp.

(c) Have in his possession pipes or other utensils for use in connection 
with the smoking of opium or Indian hemp.

Many people are cultivating, selling and smoking marijuana, especially in 
the districts of Busia, Bugiri, Manyuge, Masaka and Rakai. Much of the 
marijuana is transported to and consumed in Kampala.

In Kampala, marijuana is sold and smoked in slums like Namuwongo, Wabigalo, 
Kisenyi, Makerere Kivulu, Katanga, Kalerwe, and Kisekka Market car washing 
bays, video halls, brick laying sites and graveyards among other places.

Marijuana is smoked by misguided or frustrated youth who are generally 
devoid of employment.

Smoking marijuana is not only criminal but also contributes to commission 
of other crimes.

According to the head of anti-narcotics unit at CID headquarters, Mr 
Micheal Were: "A big number of crimes result from the influence of marijuana."

According to Were, marijuana gives Dutch courage to people who inhale it.

Body builders commonly known as Kanyamas are notorious for smoking 
marijuana because it gives them courage to way lay people in the city, 
particularly in the morning and evening.

Crimes that arise out of marijuana influence include waylaying women at 
night, raping them and defiling young girls.

The drug also contributes to mental breakdown. Some people have run mad due 
to over inhaling marijuana.

On October 12, 2002 for example, a mob lynched Mwanje Edward, after he 
killed two pupils of Little Star Nursery School in Bwaise, a Kampala 
suburb, due to marijuana influence.

Last year alone 1, 259 cases of drug abuse (marijuana inclusive) were 
reported to the police. The suspects were prosecuted in courts of law.

Such a scenario therefore calls for joint effort by all law-abiding 
citizens and the police to fight drugs that precipitate commission of crime.

The LCs should co-operate with the police by giving information on; who 
cultivates, sells and smokes marijuana so that we can arrest and prosecute 
the culprits. The public should provide evidence, if need be, in the courts 
of law.

Religious leaders and NGOs should come up with sensitisation programmes for 
youths on the dangers of smoking marijuana and create development 
programmes to occupy them.

- - Those in the transport industry should also co-operate with the police by 
stopping transportation of marijuana; from up country to the city.

- - The media should also play a role in this noble cause.

- - Parliament should expeditiously discuss and pass the new Bill on 
narcotics and drugs.
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MAP posted-by: Larry Stevens