In a conservative society like Zimbabwe, trying to come up with new ways of regulating the production and use of marijuana was met with mixed feelings, often times the legislators advocating for it being openly mocked. A new position however has been effected, and marijuana production in Zimbabwe has been legalized.
It could be classified as a rarity, as much of African countries are still reluctant to find ways of legalizing anything to do with marijuana. The new situation in Zimbabwe means production of marijuana (referred to as mbanje in the Shona language of Zimbabwe) must be licenced by the minister. This was announced by Health and Child Care Minister Dr David Parirenyatwa in a Government Gazette yesterday under Statutory Instrument 62 of 2018 (Dangerous Drugs – Production of Cannabis for Medicinal and Scientific Use Regulations).
Statutory instruments are a form of delegated legislation giving ministers the power to make laws outside the powers of parliament. Recreational use of the drug in Zimbabwe still remains illegal.
Zimbabwe now joins Lesotho which was the first country in Africa to issue a licence for the production of cannabis. Countries such as Ghana and Malawi are said to be exploring ways of regulation the production and use of cannabis. A South African court last year ruled that private use of marijuana was legal but the government appealed the ruling at the Constitutional Court.
“An application for the issue of a licence in terms of section 27 of the Act shall be made to the Minister, in duplicate and shall be accompanied by the appropriate fee and three copies of a plan of the site proposed to be licensed which shall comply with the requirement specified in these regulations.
“In case of an individual, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe or proof of an exemption by the Minister (will be required),” reads part of the regulations.
“In the case of a company, proof of citizenship or proof of being ordinarily resident in Zimbabwe of the majority of directors or proof of an exemption by the Minister and proof of incorporation in Zimbabwe of the company; and a declaration, signed and dated by the proposed authorised person in charge, stating that the authorised person in charge, the proposed responsible person in charge and, if applicable, the proposed alternate responsible person in charge, are familiar with the provisions of the Act (will be required),” the regulations providing so.
The cannabis industry has loads of potential to unlock untapped sources of revenue. Well, it's already making lots of money, but with legalization, it becomes easy. The new regulations are a deviation from the tough stance on the drugs that was employed by the authorities in Zimbabwe all this while.
The following is a set of the regulations as quoted from Zimbabwe's state newspaper The Herald:
The licensed producer may also designate one or more alternate responsible persons in charge to work at the licensed producer’s site and have authority to replace the responsible person in charge when that person is absent.The Minister shall refuse to issue, renew or amend a producer’s licence when certain requirements have not been met, among them failure by the producer to grant permission for inspection by relevant authorities; and when the Minister has reasonable grounds to believe that false or misleading information was submitted in, or false or falsified documents were submitted with the application.Issuance of a licence would also be denied when information has been received from a peace officer, a competent authority or the United Nations that the applicant has been involved in the diversion of a controlled substance or precursor to an illicit market or use.The Minister may not oblige if the issuance, renewal or amendment of the licence is likely to create a risk to public health, safety or security, including the risk of cannabis being diverted to an illicit market use.The producer licence will be valid for five years and may be renewed thereafter before its expiry.Over the years the production and use of marijuana has been illegal in the country and possession of the drug attracted sentences of up to 12 years in jail.
There you go. Zimbabwe could be a good destination for you.
Header Image Credit: Wendy McCormick