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Miraa And The War On Drugs

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Chapter Summary

Miraa’s social life takes it a very long way from its Nyambene home. This chapter considers attitudes towards miraa both in Kenya and beyond, discussing how miraa is accorded great respect by some, while others view it as unseemly, immoral and as something to suppress. It first focuses on the strong approval of miraa in the Nyambenes. The chapter then considers how miraa is viewed much more ambivalently outside the Nyambenes, and examines its reception in other countries and how this feeds back into Kenya. Much criticism emerges through its recent absorption into the globalised discourse of the ‘war on drugs’; indeed, much criticism comes about through what might be termed the ‘Reefer Madness Effect’. Reefer Madness was, of course, the unwittingly comical film of 1936 that sensationally portrayed the supposed descent into violent insanity of cannabis smokers.

Keywords: cannabis smokers; Kenya; Miraa’s social life; Nyambene home; Reefer Madness Effect; war on drugs



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