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Weed: Zimbabwe’s economic lifeline?

International Cannabis Expo in Athens, Greece on January 12, 2019. The purpose of the event is to inform the visitors for all the products and the innovations that exist in the cannabis sector worldwide and the latest achievements in the medical, pharmaceutical and industrial use of cannabis. (Photo by Giorgos Georgiou/NurPhoto)

Finance minister Mthuli Ncube is supporting calls for Zimbabwe to grow cannabis for export in order to take advantage of the growing global legal marijuana market.

In April last year, Zimbabwe became the second African country after Lesotho to legalize marijuana for medical and scientific purposes.

In 2018 the Zimbabwean Government announced the statutory instrument which allows anyone who can afford a $50,000 license fee and $25,000 annual license renewal fee to grow cannabis.

The plans were shelved later in the year with the government citing the need to first carry out feasibility studies.

At a Road to Davos town hall meeting in Harare, Minister Ncube said growing cannabis as an export product is a great opportunity and the government should hasten issuing licenses

Legal marijuana has started gaining traction worldwide due to very high demand among consumers and increasing legalization of recreational or medical marijuana in various countries.

Recently, Canada legalised cannabis entirely, which has now led more countries around the world to consider either recreational or medical legalisation.

Argentina and Australia are amongst some of the recent countries to legalise medical cannabis, while European nations like the Netherlands and Italy are beginning to explore their options within the medical market.

Critics in Zimbabwe fear that there will be an increase in backyard cannabis plots if allowed.

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