Parliament of Malawi Passes Cannabis Bill
Malawi has become the last country in southern Africa to relax laws against the cultivation and sale of cannabis, making it legal in the production of drugs and hemp fibers used in industry.
Malawi's parliament passed Thursday a bill that legalizes the cultivation and processing of cannabis for these two uses, but that does not decriminalize recreational use. Agriculture Minister Kondwani Nankhumwa has tabled the bill.
A growing number of countries around the world are legalizing or relaxing the laws on cannabis, also known as marijuana, as attitudes toward the drug change. Among them, several countries in southern Africa, and more recently Zambia, which legalized production for export in December.
They follow Lesotho, which became the first country in the region to legalize cannabis for medical purposes in 2017, and Zimbabwe. South Africa, for its part, has decriminalized personal domestic use and is in the process of lifting the ban on commercial cultivation of the plant.
"We are very pleased to finally take the right steps to advance the country's economy," Chauncy Jere, director of Ikaros Africa, one of two companies that conduct industrial hemp trials in the center, told Reuters. from Malawi.
"There's no question that cannabis is a lucrative industry and the demand is huge," said Jere, who is the spokesperson for the Malawi Hemp Association.
Tobacco, a drug which scientists say is far more addictive and ruinous to health than cannabis, has been Malawi's main source of foreign exchange since independence from Britain in 1964.