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