Cannabis to boost country’s economy — Authorities

Following the decriminalising cannabis bill in the country, authorities have described cannabis as a strong weapon for medicinal and industrial purposes.

Speaking in an interview, agricultural expert, Tamani Nkhono Mvula, has hailed the passage of the Cannabis Amendment Bill of 2024 as a monumental achievement in the diversification of agricultural resources in Malawi.

Nkhono said this legislative stride promises to bolster the nation’s foreign exchange earnings by tapping into alternative crops beyond conventional ones.

He emphasized that the need for prudence due to the contentious nature of the plant, which is widely recognized as a controlled substance and may pose social and health risks if not managed carefully.

In his remarks, Director General of the Cannabis Regulatory Authority, Ketulo Salipila said that stringent regulations will be enforced to govern the industry, ensuring that all prospective entrants obtain the necessary licenses before engaging in cannabis-related activities.

He said known colloquially as “Malawi Gold” in some circles, cannabis holds significant global demand, presenting a lucrative opportunity for the nation.

He added that traditionally Malawians have used cannabis to treat illnesses “from fever and smallpox to mental health problems”.

He said: “Hemp will be the new economic frontier, which will greatly benefit Malawians.”

Meanwhile, Malawi’s Rastafarian community has been among those advocating decriminalisation and contributing to discussions on the draft bill.

Commenting on the matter, Lazarus Kadiwa, A Ndirande based Rastafarian who belongs to Nyabhinge Rastafarian Church has commended Parliamentarians for the gesture.

He said: “As we Rasta, we make food with ganja, we can make soap with ganja, we can make clothes with ganja, we can make medicines.”

Kadiwa said Rastafarians would ‘celebrate’ the decriminalisation of cannabis.

He said: “Rastas are going to sing and chant and shout, because we know at last we’re going to make something through this healing of a nation, ganja.”

The country follows in the footsteps of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho, neighbouring south-east African states that have legalised medicinal cannabis, as well as South Africa, where medicinal and recreational use was decriminalised in 2018.

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