More arrests as Namibians engage in “cannabis debate”

Staff Reporter

Healing, dealing and concealing. As the debate around the use of cannabis and cannabis products as a natural remedy against various diseases and ailments continues, the Namibian Police too continues to clamp down on people making themselves guilty of cultivating, possessing and allegedly dealing in cannabis.

“It is illegal in Namibia to cultivate, deal and use cannabis. Equally, the manufacturing, possession and use of downstream products derived from cannabis, like cannabis oil, is also illegal and guaranteed to expose the alleged transgressor to criminal prosecution”, warned a senior police officer in Swakopmund this week. Adding, the Namibian Police re-main committed against the fight against a growing drug trade and drug culture among Namibians.
In recent days, since the arrest of Swakopmund resident Cheryl Green on charges of possession of cannabis plants and cannabis products, dozens of people debate the current position of cannabis being illegal in all its forms and the possibility even challenging the Namibian Government to legalise cannabis in lieu of countries like Canada which legalised in October last year the recreational use of cannabis by adults.

The cannabis debate in all its forms however, does not deter the Namibian Police to continue to exercise its mandate as the primary law enforcement agent in the country. Besides Cheryl Green, a Hen-ties Bay man was arrested recently for the possession of cannabis oil and this week on Tuesday a resident of Meersig in Walvis Bay, Robert Werner Dittmer (27), was arrested after one cannabis plant and three “bankies” of cannabis were found at his home. The value of the cannabis was set at N$6 140 and Dittmer made a first appearance in the Walvis Bay magistrate’s court on a charge of cultivating cannabis plants. Dittmer was released on N$8 000 bail.
On Wednesday 24-years-old Shandre Huslund was arrested in Kuisebmond, Walvis Bay’s Kabeljou Street for the alleged possession of 344 grams of cannabis valued at N$3 440.

The Police searched the house in which Huslund resides and found the cannabis neatly concealed. Huslund made a first appearance in the Walvis Bay magistrate’s court yesterday and at the time of going to press it was not yet clear whether he applied for bail and if bail was granted upon that.
The debate on the one end of the spectrum is focusing on the medicinal value of cannabis and the possession of cannabis for personal use by those with medical conditions of sort. It has also resulted in at least one amateur community activist using the cannabis debate to re-emerge from obscurity with the hope of launching a career out of it. On the opposite side of the debate are Namibians who agree that the possession, cultivation and use of cannabis and derivatives is illegal and punishable by the law. This debate asks serious questions: In the event of Mrs Green they ask why Mrs Green go to the trouble to cultivate cannabis plants and manufacture cannabis oil from it, if she could have purchased cannabis oil to treat her ill husband. “Cannabis oil is illegal, that we all know. However, we also know that hundreds of Namibians have purchased cannabis oil in recent years as it is readily available.
“Why risk yourself with your own cannabis urban farm, whilst you could have purchased the oil for a fraction of the cultivation cost and in doing so dramatically reduce the risk of being detected by the long arm of the law?”, asked one critic.
Secondly, “if Mrs Green can be more convincing in her charge that she is a healer, and not a dealer and concealer, by opening up about her and her husband’s personal finances. It would be a convincing factor if she could show bank statements to confirm the source of their monthly income and provide a paper trail of expenses to purchase food and other consumables, afford a roof over the head and afford transport in whatever form that might be”, stated another critic who is not convinced that traditional healing is at the heart of the Green-cannabis saga.
Thirdly, Green’s son was arrested for being in possession of 8 grams of cannabis and that led the Police to raid his mother, Cheryl Green’s house in Swakopmund’s Kramersdorf suburb where the cannabis plants and derivative products were found. “Green cannot state she is a healer if cannabis that originated from her garden [her son pleaded guilty in a criminal court of having possessed cannabis originating from his mother’s cannabis garden] ended up in the streets. Whether her son had it on his person for own consumption or whether he was intending to deal in it are both factors that shoots down in flames Cheryl Green’s claim of being a healer”, said another critic.
Finally: Mrs Green should also provide the reason why she kept her can-nabis plants and other activities behind locked doors, concealed from the public and other interested members’ eyes?, said another.

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