Zimbabwe legalizes medical cannabis

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Zimbabwe became the second country in Africa to legalize the production and scientific use of medicinal cannabis, the AFP news agency confirmed last week.

The health minister, David Parirenyatwa, announced a statute entitled “Regulations for the Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use” in which companies and individuals may request licenses for medicinal production.

The license guarantees the growers the possession, production and sale of concentrates, fresh and dried flower. Each license expires with the special option of being renewed every 5 years. Those participants who want to distribute in different places must apply for a special license.

Each applicant will have to present a series of documents in which he must make explicit his intentions of sowing, their business model and the operation of their system of production.

“The application must contain the maximum amount expressed in net weight in grams of fresh, dry cannabis, and the quantity to be produced in oil by the applicant under license and the maximum number of plants produced for sale,” said Parirenyatwa.

Previously, the consumption and possession of dagga (name of cannabis, in South Africa) amounted to a crime of 12 years in prison. Non-medicinal consumption will remain illegal in Zimbabwe.

Only people who have not been imprisoned for drug-related offenses can participate in the regulation. As well, only the citizens or residents of that African nation will do so. The Ministry of Health will assess the cases in which these guidelines are not met.

A number of African countries have begun regulatory processes.

The small state of Lesotho has launched a regulatory system for medicinal use since last year. In South Africa the debate has taken hold since a court determined that the private use of the dagga is legal. However, the sentence is on appeal.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Economy, Zimbabwe is already one of the largest tobacco producers in Africa. A large amount of its production is exported to the Chinese market. Political leaders have been debating the possibilities of regulating cannabis.

The former investment minister, Ober Mpofu, had made known the production interest of a Canadian firm that seeks to develop projects in specialized areas to attract foreign investment.

Medicinal use in Zimbabwe remained illegal despite being a thousand-year-old medicinal herb in its population. With it they treat seizures, asthma, mental health and use it for religious purposes.

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