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The big losers of cannabis legalization in Africa

Cannabis is already legal in at least 10 countries in Africa, but most of the population has been excluded from the industry


Despite a history marked by racial stereotypes regarding the use of narcotic substances, in which cannabis was included, 10 African countries have ventured into its medicinal use in the last 5 years.

And although progress has been made, as in South Africa that self-cultivation for recreational use is legal, the big losers in the African continent are small producers, because to access a license it is necessary to pay from thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the country; so, it is inaccessible to the vast majority of the population.

One of the most notorious examples is that of Lesotho. In 2017, when cultivation for medicinal use was legalized, it was free to acquire licenses to help small farmers. They had to pay $35,000 in the first 12 months of use; however, foreign companies began to buy these licenses and it is estimated that after two years 97% were occupied, although unused.

The paradox is that with the change of government in 2018 the price of licenses increased. So, in a country where the base salary is around $200 a month, the license to grow cannabis costs $350,000. To date there are only five companies that obtain economic benefits from this activity.

Another example of this situation is Uganda, where there is only one company that is approved by the government for the medicinal production of cannabis. This is due, to a large extent, to the fact that one of the conditions to obtain the permit is to have $ 5 million backed up in the bank account. The average monthly salary in Uganda is $153 dollars.

Beyond the advances, the great challenge for African states is to include and protect small producers and local farmers in the development of this multimillion-dollar industry that, according to international experts and analysts, will produce in the world about $ 200 billion in the next 10 years.





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