In a surprising development the conservative southern African country of Zimbabwe published a licensing regime that will allow the legal cultivation of marijuana. After Lesotho it is the second African country to take the controversial step. The government of Zimbabwe says it will now issue five-year licences for the production and sell of marijuana for medical or research use.
The government of Zimbabwe will now issue five-year licences for the production and sell of marijuana for medical or research use. Health and Child Care Minister, Dr. David Parirenyatwa, made the announcement to state-owned newspaper The Herald, that a newly implemented licensing regime will allow the drugs legal cultivation.
According to the regulations the licences will clear growers to possess, transport and sell fresh cannabis, cannabis oil, and dried product, under Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018, “Dangerous Drugs – Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations”.
“An application for the issue of a licence in terms of section 27 of the Act shall be made to the Minister, in duplicate and shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee and three copies of a plan of the site proposed to be licensed which shall comply with the requirement specified in these regulations.
“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.
“In the case of a company, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe of the majority of directors or proof of an exemption by the Minister and proof of incorporation in Zimbabwe of the company; and a declaration, signed and dated by the proposed authorised person in charge, stating that the authorised person in charge, the proposed responsible person in charge and, if applicable, the proposed alternate responsible person in charge, are familiar with the provisions of the Act (will be required),” reads the regulations.
The regulations however impose an obligation on the government to consider the risk that the drug has the potential to be used illegally. A license can therefore be denied in cases where information has been received from a “peace officer, a competent authority or the United Nations” that an applicant was involved in the diversion of a controlled substance or precursor to an illicit market or use”, the regulations said. “The Minister may not oblige if the issuance, renewal or amendment of the licence is likely to create a risk to public health, safety or security.”
In the past, members of parliament who advocated for the legalization of marijuana were largely unsuccessful due to the country’s strict anti-drugs stance, however the government has been considering the move for the past eight months.
According to the United Nations’ 2017 World Drug Report Africa comes second after the Americas in terms of production and consumption of cannabis. Which may be part of the reason more and more African countries including Ghana and Malawi are exploring ways to legalise the drug.