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Bhang prisoners deserve amnesty, says John Mututho

He suggested that the government should formulate stiff penalties that would deter those cultivating bhang citing that they are the main stumbling block to the fight against alcohol and drug abuse in the country.

The National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) ex-chair John Mututho has recommended amnesty for people jailed for smoking bhang.

According to Mr Mututho, bhang smokers are congesting prisons and should be treated as petty offenders instead of been classified as hardcore criminals.

In an interview with Nation.co.ke, Mr Mututho said it was improper for the government to jail a bhang smoker for three years for being in possession of one role of bhang.

He said with proper planning and utilisation of resources, such offenders should be used in agriculture production system to boost food production.

His recommendation for amnesty comes at a time when President Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the release of petty offenders to decongest prisons and reduce government spending on them.

Mr Mututho who has declared his interest to vie for the Nakuru gubernatorial race, said the government was spending billions of shillings annually to maintain the smokers instead of using the money to do other development projects.

“Those found growing cannabis sativa (bhang) should be jailed for life and by doing that we shall eliminate bhang smoking amongst our youths,” said Mr Mututho.

However, he said that he was totally opposed to those calling for the legalization of bhang saying the legalization of the drug saying it can only be done under strict rules for medicinal and industrial use only.

“Cannabis sativa should not be allowed to be grown by every Tom, Dick and Harry otherwise it will be misused by misguided and greedy Kenyans who want to make quick money,” he said.

He said the government should step up its fight against drugs by using its intelligence machinery to flush out suspected and well known drug barons from their hideouts.

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