Zimbabwe : Cannabis production to revamp agricultural sector

Zimbabwe legalises marijuana for medicinal and scientific purposes
Nqobile Bhebhe,

Zimbabwe, after years of debating legalizing medicinal cannabis production  and with the government  seeking new revenue streams for its collapsing agricultural sector has finally opened up to its cultivation.

Officials say it’s only for medicinal or scientific purposes.

Countless people have been jailed for illegally growing cannabis.

Government would issue five-year renewable licences to allow growers to possess, transport and sell fresh and dried cannabis as well as cannabis oil, Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa announced on Saturday, 28 April.

Applicants  should include plans of the growing site, quantity to be produced and sold and the production period.

“In case of an individual, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe or proof of an exemption by the Minister (will be required),” reads the regulations.

Licensed producers would be under strict audits.

“The application shall also contain the following – (a) if applicable, the maximum quantity expressed as net weight in grammes of fresh cannabis, dried cannabis, cannabis oil to be produced by the applicant under the licence and the production period . . . and the maximum number of cannabis plants to be sold or provided by the applicant under the licence and the period in which that quantity is to be sold or provided,” .

Lesotho last year announced the continent’s first licence to grow cannabis legally.

Until now, it has been illegal to grow, possess or use cannabis in Zimbabwe, with offenders facing up to 12 years in jail.

Government has been seized with legalisng canabbies production for a while now.

In July last year,  former Economic Planning and Investment Promotion and current Home Affairs Minister Dr Obert Mpofu  said a Canadian conglomerate submitted an application to partner Government in the production of medical cannabis in one of the areas that has been earmarked for Special Economic Zones.

“We have received numerous inquiries from investors who want to participate in the SEZs and one of them is a big international company that wants to be involved in the production of cannabis.

“I don’t see anything wrong and I think if we legalise (production of) mbanje we will benefit medically because it is used for pain killers such as morphine,”  said Mpofu then.