Campaign partner, CAPMHK has launched an online petition calling for the decriminalisation of cannabis for personal use in Kenya. In Kenya, when one is found guilty of possession of cannabis for personal use, they face a jail term of up to ten (10) years or liable to a fine of Two Hundred and Fifty Thousand Kenya Shillings (Kshs. 250,000) or both. This is provided for in Section 3(1) and Section 3(2) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Control) Act.
The criminalization of drug possession, like cannabis, for personal use has been considered universally as “punishing people who use drugs“. This response unnecessarily generates criminal records for people, mainly young and/or poor, who then suffer the negative consequences of imprisonment including reduced employment opportunities, increased poverty, stigmatization etc. It also lays a heavy burden on an already overwhelmed justice system, eroding public confidence in the police who tend to use illegal and arbitrary arrests, often to solicit bribes. The socio-economic cost of incarceration for drug possession for personal use, such as cannabis, greatly outweighs the cost to individuals, communities, and governments.
With support from SALC, CAMPHK continues to advocate for the decriminalisation of drugs for personal use, namely cannabis, through publications reprints, social media and online petitions, various stakeholder engagements with civil society groups, relevant state agencies and political parties in the run-up to the upcoming Kenyan general elections.