Uganda`s constitutional court has nullified the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act 2016, citing, among other reasons, a lack of quorum in parliament, violating various provisions of the Ugandan laws.
“In the premises, I would declare the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act, 2015, null and void for lack of quorum on the part of parliament contrary to articles 88 and 89 of the Constitution and rule 23 of the Rules of Procedure of the 9th Parliament, 2012 made pursuant to articles 88 and 94 of the Constitution,” Justice Muzamiru Mutangula Kibeedi said.
In the 2017 petition, the farmers of the crop under their umbrella body, Wakiso Miraa Growers and Dealers Association Ltd., petitioned the Constitutional Court seeking the overturning of the decision of parliament, which they said was inconsistent with the principles of legality, equality, rationality, and proportionality guaranteed under the constitution since they were never consulted.
The petitioners welcomed this decision by the court, stating the enormous benefits of these crops once put to proper use. They further stressed that the parliament, while passing the bill, adamantly ignored these benefits while concentrating on only the adverse effects of consumption.
The petitioners argued that while society has generalized and branded these crops as dangerous, they can only cause harm if they are misused. Besides the known common benefits of marijuana, which include, among others, reducing anxiety and inflammation, Control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy; kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth; relax tight muscles in people with MS; stimulate appetite; and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS. Research also indicates that marijuana stems are a tremendous source of strong construction materials known as hempcrete.
Hempcrete is a bio-composite made of the inner woody core of the hemp plant (dry marijuana stem fiber) mixed with a lime-based binder. The hemp core, or “Shiv,” has a high silica content, which allows it to bind well with lime. This property is unique to hemp among all-natural fibers. The result is a lightweight cementitious insulating material weighing about a seventh or an eighth of the weight of concrete. Hempcrete blocks are way cheaper and lighter than concrete bricks.
Unlike concrete, hempcrete offers numerous environmental and human health benefits. HempStone LLC, a U.S. hempcrete company, notes that hempcrete is healthy, resilient, and sequesters carbon. It is non-toxic, biodegradable, anti-fungal, anti-pest, fire-resistant, and excellent at thermoregulation.
Uganda, like other countries, could adopt the use of hempcrete blocks for construction, as this has proven to be cost-efficient, durable, and better than concrete blocks in terms of insulation from fire and water.