“The economics of Marijuana must be revisited for many reasons in the Gambia. The global trend in criminalizing the herb has been welcomed by the inherent revenue associated with taxation. Equally, the Gambia as a nation should revisit our archaic narco statutes and law to liberalize possession and consumption of the herb,” Nyang Njie, one of the cohosts of the GRTS Kerr Fatou show wrote on his Facebook wall.
Alternatively, said Mr. Njie, Gambia can use the Holland model by having a partial decriminalization limited to a specific geographical zone. The Island of Jinack, he went on, is the best suited candidate for this radical policy shift. Once government adopt such a policy, he added the requisite public infrastructure Jetty and roads must be built to be complimented by good hotels and entertainment spots.
“This will change the tourism landscape by making Gambia the tourism Mecca of West Africa. This will also shift the demographic distribution of our tourist from older retirees to booming young and middle age people,” he said.
According to the former Finance Ministry “junior economist” legalizing marijuana will also advance Gambia’s music industry.
“Furthermore, Gambia can then attract major music festivals that can rival Woodstock. In country tours to Jinack will significantly increase. Economic policy formulation is an art that is backed by sound economic fundamentals in the realization of the desired objectives. For once, the tourism sector needs to think out of the box and move towards a paradigm shift. Gambia Tourism is in need of a boost but this has to be radical and sustainable. Just my humble opinion,” he concluded.
The Kerr Fatou show has been bankrolled by advertisers in the amount of D 3 million dalasi. Out of the said figure, GRTS receives 40 percent of the proceeds accumulated from the show.
Neither GRTS nor the Kerr Fatou show crew are yet to issue a statement to distance themselves from Nyang Njie’s statement. This followed a visit Mr. Njie made to Jinak, a marijuana hub. Jinack situated in the Niumis. He was accompanied by his producer Alhagie Manka
Fatou Touray was contacted via Facebook for comment, but she was indisposed.
Below is our journalistic query to Fatou Touray, the anchor of the Kerr Fatou Show.
How are you? Hope all is well with you.
We need your reaction on Nyang Njie’s call for the legalization of marijuana in The Gambia. Does his statement reflect the views or position of the Kerr Fatou show?
Yes he is entitle to his opinion; but don’t you think he should serve as a role model to the youths–given the number of people who watch him on state TV?
Do you think his statement will turnoff your advertisers?
Meanwhile, Mr. Njie’s controversial call for the legalization of marijuana was discussed on Freedom radio Gambia Leral show. Ebou Jallow, a Gambian former army Captain censored Mr. Njie for making what he calls such reckless and misguided statements. Jallow said Njie should understand that he is no longer an ordinary person since he is part of a show that is widely viewed by Gambians and people around the world. Jallow said Mr. Njie should be disciplined for trying to encourage marijuana in a country, where there is massive youth unemployment. He said if this was in other countries, advertisers will pull their ads from the Kerr Fatou show.
Pa Sambou Junior, a Freedom Radio listener based in the UK said: ” This is not a radical idea at all as Ebou think but it is mainstream thought in most advanced democracies today. It is worked in Portugal, Holland and is working in parts of US and over here, the left is very much in favor and as a man on the left I think it is a good idea too. Part of the proceeds from a regulated marijuana market can be used to properly fund the policing of harmful drugs and other crimes. This policy has not failed in any of the countries that tried it so I guess that is not a coincidence but a good case to show that it works.”
“Pa, people are smoking and selling weed in the Gambia as we speak and at no benefit to the govt. Instead, the govt is spending money policing it and prosecuting ‘offenders’ at a cost. The status quo is even worse than legalizing and regulating it. The key word here is REGULATE. What we need to understand is that when the state legalizes it it won’t be a free for all but they will regulate it’s sale, use and distribution to an extent that there won’t be abuse to the level we are seeing today,” Sambou added.
Momodou Njai, a Gambian based in Washington DC disagrees with Nyang Njai. He said the Gambia should focus on youth education, and empowerment than making a senseless call for the legalization of marijuana.
“This is not about generating money through drugs, but simply getting the population to know their simple democratic principles. Most Gambians cannot even rationalize what is happening in their day to day affairs, and now you want them to smoke marijuana. How will they reason? Gambia is not productive enough like the West. Let them go and work to develop Gambia than making them lazy with marijuana,” Njai said.