‘Marijuana investor pulled global users’

10Feb 2020
The Guardian Reporter
The Guardian
‘Marijuana investor pulled global users’

MARIJUANA products processed and sold by a Polish national who was arrested here yesterday were so popular that some people flew into the country from abroad just to have their take.

Briefing reporters here yesterday after the arrest of Damian Sankowski, Commissioner General for the Drugs Control and Enforcement Authority (DCEA) James Kaji said the suspect produced well packaged products that look like jam and honey.

He said the products—some of which were seized in the suspect’s residence—are not for medicinal but intoxicating use and were popular with users from Europe.

The 40-year-old investor who entered the country with plans to build tourist hotels and an orphanage, imported marijuana leaves from Spain which he grew and processed in a plot surrounded by a tall perimeter wall.

 The drug buster said that investigations showed that apart from the products that were disposed locally, Sankowski’s exports left the country through the ports of Pangani in Tanga Region and Zanzibar.

“We have seized well packaged products that look like jam and some branded like Australian hone. They were being sold in local and foreign markets,” he said.

Kaji said yesterday’s arrest came after his office received a tip-off from law abiding citizens who raised concern that an investor who had promised to build a tourist hotel near Mount Kilimanjaro and an orphanage had apparently changed his mind and ventured into an illegal activity.

After intelligence confirmed the tip-off, DCEA detectives left Dar es Salaam yesterday morning, raided the property and arrested the suspect alongside three accomplices, including his wife.

Kaji said that two other suspects who worked on the farm took to their heels during the raid and avoided arrest.

“We sent the specimen from the products we seized at the suspect’s house for testing at the Government Chemist’s Laboratory and results showed that they were marijuana,” he said.

Kaji wondered how the illegal business has been going on for years without knowledge of local authorities, charging that the suspect may have managed to proceed with the illegal activity by giving bribes.

During the raid, the suspect offered the detectives 10m/- in cash and 40m/- every month for them to leave him alone, the commissioner asserted.

The raid comes as debate continues on whether Tanzania should legalize marijuana cultivation and processing for medicinal purposes. The issue flared in the just-ended parliamentary session where some MPs passionately argued that the country was missing on an opportunity to make billions from the crop. Its extracts are used to treat a range of ailments including pain relief, they insisted.

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