It suddenly turned cold in Boston and I wasn’t properly dressed for the weather.

My hotel was far away and my only option was to dash into a store for some jeans or leggings to wear under my long dress. 

Patagonia was right beside me. 

I walked in and began hunting for the perfect pair. 

Then I saw a signage “HEMP CLOTHING “ and in smaller letters : 

Natural . Misunderstood. Legal. 

I walked up to the racks beneath and behold, all clothing from jeans to skirts; baby wears to socks were made out of hemp. 

Trust my Nigerianess... Indian Hemp ke. I no dey buy . Make cold kuku kill me. I remembered all the horrible ideas of how destructive hemp is. 

So I ended up walking away from that store into another for my purchase. 

However, curiosity got the better part of me... so I opened my laptop and began my research into hemp.  

My discovery left me astonished 

Hemp has been used by humans for over 10,000 years and it’s the strongest natural fiber in the world. 

Interestingly, there are no wasted parts of the hemp plant . Both seeds and stalks are used to produce the following;

Hemp Seed
From hemp seeds we get lotions, hair creams, makeup, nail polish, cooking oil, paint production, fuel production, ink, animal feeds, bakery products, dairy production, beer production, butter, milk, chocolate , cereal etc. 

Hemp stalks
All clothing made out of cotton can be made from hemp e.g jeans, shirts, face caps etc. Moreover, Fiber board for construction, fiberglass , compost, fuel as biodiesel and ethanol, carpets, plastic products, baby diapers, papers, bags, canvas, shampoo, sneakers and so much more are made from hemp. 

Little wonder, China’s hemp market generated $1.1b in 2017 while America’s hemp market generated $1b in 2018. 

So let’s ponder, if the world has created over 50,000 uses from hemp and countries cashing in on the vast market thereby generating revenue and jobs, why is Nigeria still stuck on its illegal pronouncement by the Indian Hemp Act of  31st March of 1966. 

Do you think we are being hypocritical in the management of hemp in Nigeria? 

Is there a way legislative reforms and of course some regulatory measures can be put in place to balance hemp’s consumption while Nigeria operates a sustainable manufacturing industry? 

Remember, Hemp is illegal in Nigeria yet Nigeria is the 8th ranking country in the world’s hemp consumption. Sadly by mostly idle youths who are not properly educated about its vices. 

Probably, discussions and debates on hemp and cannabis generally should be held often to help educate and guide our youths against its abuse... this would also help create a world of entrepreneurial opportunities and have our youths gainfully employed from the same “destructive” product . 

Suffice it to applaud the out-of-the-box economic diversification efforts of Governor Akeredolu of Ondo state who is charging Nigeria to key into the 2025 forecasted $145b Cannabis market. 

By the way, we are talking about industrial hemp. 

Note: it’s about time we get leaders who are disruptive in their ability to create thriving innovative yet inclusive economics. 

Leaders bold enough to challenge our blind-spots and launch Nigeria out of hopelessness into adventurous prosperity. 

Natasha Akpoti is a senatorial candidate, Kogi Central, 2019 general election.

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