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Court dismisses Miraa traders' case against NACADA

26 February 2014, 08:01 Millicent Kawii

Nairobi - Miraa traders suffered a setback in their bid to stop the anti-drugs body from classifying the plant as a narcotic.

A High Court judge ruled that Miraa traders did not table sufficient evidence to show that the National Agency for the Campaign against Drug Abuse had classified Miraa as a narcotic.

While dismissing the case filed by a Miraa Traders Association, Justice David Majanja said that if there was any classification already made, NACADA would ordinarily declare that decision.

“The petitioners did not place any material to enable court to admit any violation as claimed, ordinarily, NACADA would be able to declare such kind of a decision,” Justice Majanja ruled.

The judge while defending the anti-drugs body noted that the matter had generated a lot of public interest.

In July 17, last year, Nyambene Miraa Traders Association sued NACADA and the Attorney General for illegally, unlawfully and without any reasonable basis purported to classify Miraa as a narcotic drug.

They claimed the decision if implemented would have affected marketing income of Miraa and that it was reached at without the involvement of producers and consumers of the substance.

They also claimed that Miraa has created employment for many people, has no adverse medical or social effects.

They further had alleged that Miraa has a unique cultural value as it forms integral part during dowry payment, passage of rites and used for dispute resolution among council of elders of Ameru.

However, NACADA had denied ever declaring or making any classification of Miraa as a narcotic saying that that was not its mandate as it only commissioned a research to be done.

NACADA argued that it had not advocated for a ban on Miraa production as its role is to simply educate the public on whether the substance is psychoactive and intoxicating.

NACADA also argued that its main role is to tell the public on whether the consumption of Miraa leads to negative socio-economic indicators.

“There is no evidence showing that NACADA has classified or is in the process of classifying Miraa as a narcotic drug,” State Counsel Daniel Wamotsa told court before the ruling.

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