Marijuana in Africa. Zimbabwe now legalizes marijuana
Marijuana is legal in Zimbabwe for medicinal and research purposes — and different African nations are also planning on investing in this lucrative natural resource.
According to a UN survey, more than 10,000 tons of cannabis are produced on the continent each year, and advocates believe that the marijuana industry is worth billions of dollars.
African nations are slow regarding legalizing marijuana. But in 2017, Lesotho became the first country in Africa to grant legal permits to grow marijuana, indicating a big step toward more liberal policies.
Countries like Morocco and South Africa are developing an interest in marijuana. However, these nations have barriers to face.
Zimbabwe is the second African country to legalize the growing of marijuana for scientific and medicinal purposes. Zimbabweans now have the opportunity to apply for a permit to produce marijuana.
Before marijuana became legal in Zimbabwe, people caught while possessing, growing or using cannabis could face up to 12 years in jail. However, the new law authorizes organizations and citizens to plant marijuana for five years.
Lesotho is a small nation. However, it is a giant when it comes to marijuana trade. According to a report by UNESCO, the country produces cannabis is all its regions. The story also discovered that the marijuana industry in Lesotho is the highest contributor to the economy in a nation dominated by poverty. The nation’s income comes from illegal trade with the neighboring country, South Africa.
The government has started making plans on taking the business to another level by granting now the first license for production and sale to South African alternative medicine company Verve Dynamics.
Nevertheless, no significant progress has been made to legalize or regulate the massive amount of existing farmers and traders.
South African alternative medicine company Verve Dynamics will produce medical marijuana in Lesotho.
According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), Morocco is mostly known for its hashish and is second only to Afghanistan regarding hashish production.
According to Bloomberg, the production of hashish in Morocco has created at least 800,000 jobs and is worth $10 billion a year in sales.
These increasing figures have developed a growing movement for legalization.
In 2014, an opposition party in the Moroccan parliament with strong links to the monarchy suggested a bill to legalize the production of marijuana for medical and industrial use.
However, the bill failed to progress, and the movement failed again after the resignation of top advocate Ilyas El Omari. Conservative religious groups and even cannabis farmers who are concerned their crop might lose value have also criticized the legalization of marijuana.
Malawi is has a reputation for producing top quality marijuana within its borders, involving the well-known “Malawi Gold” strain.
The government is currently producing hemp on a trial basis, ahead of the possible legalization of the non-psychoactive cannabis strain for industrial purposes like fabric and food products.
This signifies a significant change after the war with drug control groups and religious leaders who are firmly against marijuana legalization.
Both marijuana advocates and critics have proposed that marijuana should be legalized to satisfy the longstanding demand of the country’s Rastafarian minority, who believe that smoking ‘chamba’ is a significant part of their culture.
According to the UNODC Ghanaians are large consumers of marijuana, which is still illegal but highly tolerated.
Ghanaians are forming a pro-legalization campaign with assistance from the former head of the Narcotics Control Board. The movement was further boosted when the executive director of the Ghana Standards Authority proposed that state-led production and export of marijuana could produce more revenue.
However, government officials and mental health experts have seriously denied the idea which means that legalization won’t be easy to come by.
According to the influential Christian Council of Ghana, marijuana could destroy the future of young people.
The largest economy in Africa is also among its leading markets for marijuana, or “dagga” as it is locally known. According to a UN report, South Africa cultivates around 2,500 tons of marijuana per year.
Currently, there are many legal battles in South Africa which deal with the future of marijuana. The Dagga Party was highly favored this year when they won a landmark ruling which permits them to smoke at home or on privacy grounds, without changing the classification of the plant.
According to the famous “dagga couple” Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, further arrangements will be made to grow and consume marijuana, which could set up a far-reaching precedent.
The government of South Africa has already published regulations for medical marijuana, which paves the way for legal licenses.