Security officers led by Soroti Resident District Commissioner, Patrick Okumu have uprooted four acres of marijuana in Oculoi sub county.
The marijuana gardens belonged to Anthony Edel, a resident of Awidiang village. The RDC acted on a tip-off from his contact in the same village. He says that after hearing about marijuana growing in Awidiang village, he contacted Edel to find out details of his dealings in the restricted substance.
According to Okumu, he tasked Edel to produce documents authorizing him to grow marijuana in vain prompting security to take action. He reveals that Edel has been growing marijuana for a long time, something he notes is endangering the young population.
Anthony Oyuru, the Oculoi sub-county LC V councilor says that many youths in the area are now addicted to smoking marijuana which has fueled crime. Oyuru says the police in Oculoi are overwhelmed with cases of assault as drunken youth fight over every small disagreement.
By the time of filing this story, the uprooted marijuana was being kept at the district premises under tight security by the police and army as they await court order to destroy the plants. Edel is reportedly on run. In January 2020, the government through the Ministry of Health allowed the exportation of marijuana for medicinal purposes under strict guidelines.
The guidelines include restriction of individuals and companies seeking to grow or export marijuana to present minimum capital of Shs18.3billion and a bank guarantee of Shs4billion. Investors were also required to present a tax clearance certificate from the Uganda Revenue Authority, lists of employees and their job descriptions, valid trading license, evidence of value addition to cannabis and audited accounts among others.
The marijuana farms were restricted outside schools, hospitals and residential areas.