It is ridiculous for Namibia to insist upon putting its head in the sand regarding the legalization of cannabis. Why are we pretending the world has not changed on this issue since 1970 or ‘80. Older decision-makers want to believe that the majority of the population thinks as conservatively as they do. They think that the judgemental social ideas that ruled society when they were young are the same in Namibia in 2020. They are wrong.

Their conservative thinking is retrogressive. It is not representative of the thinking and ideas of the majority of the population affected by the decision to legalize cannabis. The majority of people in Namibia want to learn about options on all issues and make informed choices about what they embrace and what they don’t. They don’t ‘get confused’ and need party leaders to tell them what to think.

Namibia is announcing its long-overdue consideration of the limited legalization of cannabis. In doing this, the government is acting joining the rest of the world is something special and unique. In fact, we are late to a party that ended for everyone else in the world, 10 years ago. We are busy launching long-winded ‘consultations’ about the information that is readily available all over the world.

In Namibia, it seems that we are not comfortable unless we waste a few years reinventing the wheel. We need to make grand announcements about studies, national discussions, hiring foreign consultants and collecting data. We are actually only going to cut and paste what others have already provided for their legalization processes over a decade ago. Our conservative social dogma amongst the elders leading this nation is embarrassing.

In the liberation struggle days, it was the LIBERALS in anti-apartheid and anti-colonial organizations around the world who fought by our side legislatively and ethically. They sent money to finance the struggle and willingly gave political support.

It was the CONSERVATIVES around the world who supported South Africa and its apartheid system. They make money from colonialism and imperialism and are sorry whenever it was defeated anywhere. They did not cheer Namibian independence.

And yet, Namibians before independence, during nation-building and now, are social conservatives. The irony is mind-boggling.

What if, 30 years ago, the world had looked upon Namibian independence with the eyes of a conservative? Where would we be now?

Limited use of cannabis (medicinal and adult personal home use) must be allowed in Namibia right now.

We should be planting organic crops for sale to the international market as an export product. There are SADC countries already doing this and earning revenues and creating jobs in the process.

Namibia is salivating for the chance to rape our sea beds and destroy our fisheries to mine phosphates. And yet, we quibble over farming organic cannabis for export and controlled, regulated local use. Our world view of right and wrong is unbalanced.

Namibian law enforcement has no capacity to arrest, build cases, collect evidence on cannabis cases. They cannot make a dent in the current use, sale and transhipment of cannabis. The criminal syndicates are making a fortune on something legal and free (with restrictions) just next door in South Africa and other nearby nations.

We cannot even prosecute or catch men who murder women and girls and yet we claim to have the capacity to chase down people who smoke a joint?

Stores that sell organic goods, openly carry products made from the by-product of cannabis, Cannabivarin (CBV). Creams and gels made from this product are great for painful muscles and joints. We are hypocrites to want to ban cannabis and yet, its derivatives are for sale next to the vitamins every single day.

The elderly and conservative people leading most political parties and institutions in Namibia (particularly cultural and traditional institutions) are more worried about ‘confusing’ the people than respecting that Namibians are more aware than they assume. Leaders – stop treating the people as if they are small boys and girls without a clue about life or its choices. We know what we think and will express ourselves accordingly. We are not ‘confused.’

The long-overdue discussion on cannabis is starting. We support this. But, at the same time, we shake our heads at how our leaders make a big deal out of something ordinary. Namibia: let us not rehash what is already known all over the world. Legalize it now!