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Zimbabwe OKs First Medicinal Cannabis Sales

Zimbabwe Medicines Control Authority saidThe country in southern Africa announced Tuesday that they are now accepting applications from hemp and cannabis producers as well as exporters and importers of the product. This is the latest step to move away from tobacco.

As Bloomberg reported, cannabis will be offered as “complimentary medicines given to patients,” marking the “first time” that Zimbabwe has permitted cannabis to be sold.

The authority spelled out a host of conditions for applicants, advising that they must submit both product samples and “certificates of analysis from an accredited laboratory specifying the quantities of the active moieties of cannabidiols and any traces of tetrahydrocannabinols as part of the information in the dossier.”

“Any Hemp-based CBD product applications that do not meet the criteria above may not be approved for distribution, and will be confiscated,” the Medicines Control Authority warned. “Further, sellers may be prosecuted for selling unapproved complementary medicines.”

Zimbabwe became the first African country to legalize medical marijuana in 2018.

This was a result of economic realities. Long the country’s leading export, tobacco sales have fallen worldwide, forcing farmers and lawmakers in Zimbabwe to rethink its approach to agriculture.

According to statistics, Zimbabwe earned $819 million from tobacco in the last fiscal year. Bloomberg, although the expected “demand for cannabis is projected to continue to grow while tobacco [the country’s] output globally may decline 15% by 2030.”

Industry leaders have encouraged the country’s tobacco farmers “to plant cannabis so that a quarter of their income comes from the plant by 2025,” Bloomberg reported.

In 2019, Zimbabwe abolished its ban on cannabis cultivation, which set the stage for the country’s farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp to export. The country also issued the first license for a medical marijuana company in order to allow cultivation to commence.

The following is a list of the top ten most popular songs from last year. Bloomberg, Zimbabwe “exported 30 tons of industrial hemp to Switzerland last year, its first foray into the European market.”

Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwean president, ordered a $27million medical marijuana farm and processing facility to be operated by Swiss Bioceuticals Limited, West Province, Zimbabwe.

“This milestone is a testimony of the successes of my Government’s Engagement and Re-engagement Policy. Through their investment in Zimbabwe, it further proves the faith that Swiss companies place in our economy. I extend my profound congratulations to the Swiss Bioceuticals Limited for this timely investment in the medicinal cannabis farm, processing plant and value chain, worth US$27 million,” Mnangagwa said in the announcement of the plant, as quoted by Business Insider.

Mnangagwa has been a vocal booster of the country’s medical cannabis program, often saying that Zimbabwe is “open for business” to the industry.

Business Insider reported at the time that Mnangagwa “also urged other investors with permits to quickly operationalize their permits and licenses for the benefit of the economy in general and people in particular.”

“I challenge other players within the medicinal cannabis sub-sector to speedily set up their enterprises, focusing on value addition and beneficiation. Unfortunately, only 15 entities are operating with cannabis issued to them since 2018. [licenses] have been operational,” Mnangagwa said, as quoted by Business Insider.

Mnangagwa urged investors to “follow [Swiss Bioceuticals Limited’s] lead and open their business to support the mantra that ‘Zimbabwe is Open for Business’ and be ready to generate foreign currency generation for the country.”

With experts forecasting the global cannabis industry to be worth $272 billion by 2028, Reuters reported that Zimbabwean officials have said “the country wants at least $1 billion of that — more than it currently makes from its top agricultural export tobacco.”