The days in Africa when marijuana was referred to as the ‘devil’s grass’ are gradually fading away like smoke from a dead fireplace. We have now understood that the plant is of great importance and the only way to best appreciate it is to regulate its growth and usage.
Last year, Zimbabwe achieved an important milestone when its government passed legislation that would accommodate license application for the growth and farming of marijuana for medical purposes in the country.
Although many other African countries did not favor the move, experts say it is only a matter of time before they see the amazing results in Zimbabwe, which will, in turn, prompt them to follow suit.
Midlands State University (MSU) in Zimbabwe has applied for a license to grow marijuana (locally referred to as mbanje) for medicinal purposes in line with the government's laws.
This was made known by the Higher and Tertiary Education, Science and Technology Development Minister, Professor Amon Murwira while addressing students at a Midlands State University public lecture in Gweru.
He added that the government was in process of issuing the license and said several other universities have followed suit to file for licenses to also grow marijuana for medicinal purposes.
Prof Murwira said the government intends to reduce its import bill by having local pharmaceuticals producing medicines from local resources.
"We were told by our former colonial masters that mbanje is illegal and they even promulgated a law prohibiting the smoking of mbanje.
However, it has medicinal properties. So our leadership had a closer look and realized that mbanje can be useful and then legalized the growing of mbanje for medicinal purposes. So we have started doing so. MSU itself has applied for a license for growing mbanje.
"Resources are nothing but they become when we have the brains of using them. This is very important. We need to look inside. When we do physics, we need to be able to use it and apply it here in Zimbabwe. We probably have the same amount of resources but different levels of development.
"We always want people outside to make things for us. We want our biochemistry to work for us. Most of the medicines that we have come from trees, roots and other plants; these are the product of our environment. So what we want to do is that the medicines that we are going to be using in the country should come from our own pharmacies and resources found in the country.
"I cannot be treated by medicine that was made from an environment that I am not living in. This is why people die because they are not suitable for us," he said.
Prof Murwira said all Ministers of State have been asked to avail 20 hectares each for industrial hubs where the incubated ideas will then be implemented and operationalized.
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